5 Tips for New Drivers
By: Brianna Carmichael, Associate Lawyer
The first time you get your driver’s licence and get to experience the freedom of that is very exciting for any new driver. However, having a new driver under their roof can also be stressful for parents and other adults living in the house, especially if the new driver is on that adult’s insurance policy as a secondary or occasional driver of their vehicle.
How can you ensure that living with a new driver is as safe as it can be, and help protect yourself against the risk of insurance rate increases?
Tell your insurance company! Before the new driver ever gets behind the wheel, if you are the owner of the car they will be driving, it is very important that you let your insurance company know about the new driver. This avoids any issues down the road where the company might say the driver is not covered because they did not know of this increased risk factor.
Make sure the new driver follows all the rules associated with their licence. In New Brunswick, we have a “graduated licence” system. When you get your first licence, what we usually call your “beginners” you are getting a Class 7 Level 1 licence. Make sure the new driver follows the rules associated with this: not driving between midnight at 5:00 in the morning, having only one passenger who must hold a Class 5 licence or better, have a minimum of 3 years of driving experience and be seated in the front passenger seat of the vehicle; and follows the zero-tolerance rule on alcohol and/or drug consumption. When you move up to a Class 7 Level 2 licence, the rules loosen up some – you can have up to 3 passengers and you can drive between midnight and 5:00 a.m. (with some restrictions). There is still zero-tolerance for drinking or consuming drugs and driving.
Make sure that the vehicle the new driver will be using is well-maintained and inspected before they get on the road. Make sure the new driver knows about common maintenance needs. New drivers may not know what to look out for, and if lights start popping up on the dash, they may panic – but what if it’s just low washer fluid?
Ensure new drivers avoid common distractions like cellphone use and playing with the radio or other equipment in the vehicle.
Practice, practice, practice: the new driver will only get more comfortable behind the wheel the more they drive. This is important for the new driver and for their parent or guardian!
DISCLAIMER: The publications on this website are intended to provide information of a general nature and not legal advice. The information contained in this publication is current to the date of the publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.