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Do Student Driver Stickers Work?

Many student drivers — and their parents — have opted to put “student driver” bumper stickers on their cars to alert others that they’re still learning how to drive. But do these kinds of stickers work? 

Although it doesn’t take much time to learn the basics of driving (which includes getting affordable car insurance), it can take a while for your teen to get comfortable behind the wheel. The idea behind these stickers is that other motorists will be more aware of your young driver as they learn. However, you may wonder if they’re actually effective.  

Below, we explore the concept of student driver stickers to help you decide if you want one for your vehicle when your child starts learning to drive. 

A Brief History of Student Driver Identification 

States started requiring driver’s licenses in the United States in the early 1900s, and learner’s permits have been around for almost as long. The state of New York launched the first learner’s permit in 1925, and other states soon followed suit. Permits give your teen a probationary period before they can have full driving privileges. While your kid has a permit, they may have restrictions like needing to have an adult in the car or having a curfew for driving. 

Now, you can take an extra step by putting on bumper stickers, letting others know that you have a teen who is still learning how to drive. With these stickers, you and your teen can voluntarily indicate that they’re still learning with bumper stickers that have phrases such as “Please be patient: new driver,” or simply “student driver.” 

What is the Point of Student Driver Stickers? 

Student driver stickers are designed to alert other drivers that an inexperienced motorist who may not understand all the rules of the road is driving. A “student driver, be patient” sticker encourages others to pay special attention to your vehicle and be ready to react if your child has an issue on the road. People may even give your vehicle extra space on the road, be more patient when waiting at turns and stoplights, or refrain from honking if your teen makes a mistake. 

Are Student Driver Stickers Required? 

Although every state requires learner’s permits for drivers under a certain age, most states don’t ask you to identify yourself on the road if you or your teen only has a permit. In fact, only New Jersey requires people with permits to put identification decals on their vehicles. The state launched the requirement in 2010 to prevent crashes, but other states haven’t adopted similar requirements. 

The Debate Around Their Effectiveness 

Despite the positive intention of bumper stickers for new drivers, some people doubt their effectiveness. However, studies show that they can have a positive impact. 

Safety Measures or Placebos? 

One study reviewed the impact of New Jersey’s decal requirements and found that the stickers correlated with a decrease in crash rates for drivers who recently got their licenses. The stickers didn’t affect crash rates for brand-new drivers who still had their permits, likely because they still had supervision from a licensed driver due to permit restrictions. Once your child starts driving on their own, the stickers could potentially provide a layer of protection as they learn to drive independently. 

Despite the research, some people may feel that these stickers don’t have an actual impact. They argue that the stickers only offer a placebo to give the driver or their parents peace of mind. 

A young student driver takes a driving test with the instructor in the passenger seat.

The Perception from Other Drivers’ Perspective 

Opinions on student driver bumper stickers can vary widely. Some drivers have an empathetic approach and may extend extra patience to drivers that they know are still learning. Other drivers may wonder why there are so many of these stickers and assume that they’re just an excuse for bad driving.  

Ultimately, there’s a wide range of reactions to student driver stickers. Because everyone’s goal is to stay safe on the road, it’s likely that most people have a neutral or positive view of them. 

Pros of Using Student Driver Stickers 

Having a strategic bumper sticker can be helpful for both your teen and other motorists on the road. If you’re wondering, ‘Should I get my teen a student driver sticker?’ start by exploring the main benefits: 

Increased Awareness Among Fellow Motorists 

 Student driver stickers inform other drivers that your teen is still learning, promoting patience and understanding. It can also prompt them to be more alert, potentially improving their reaction time if they make an unexpected move. 

Psychological Comfort for New Drivers 

Regardless of how long your teen is considered a new driver, a student driver sticker on your car can also put them at ease and help them feel more confident. They may be more comfortable taking the extra time to think through their driving when they don’t feel rushed by other drivers. These stickers can also help you feel more relaxed about the idea of your teen practicing their skills in your car. 

Cons and Criticisms of Student Driver Labels 

There are a few potential drawbacks to labeling your teen as a new driver with a bumper sticker. It’s important to keep them in mind when deciding whether or not to add one to your car. 

Potential Targeting and Road Rage Incidents 

Unfortunately, road rage is always a concern when you’re driving. Instead of being understanding of new drivers, some people may be more critical. This could lead to them honking, yelling, or messing with your teen with dangerous maneuvers like brake-checking. 

False Sense of Security – Do They Really Protect? 

If you are a parent teaching your kid to drive, bumper stickers aren’t a magic solution to potential issues on the road. Your teen may have a false sense of confidence when you add the sticker, making them less careful than they would be otherwise. If you’re using the sticker, you and your child still need to be vigilant on the road. 

Insure Your Student Driver with Affordable Auto Coverage 

Whether or not you put a sticker on your teen’s car, you can rest easy when you have the best insurance for young drivers. At Freeway Insurance, we offer affordable insurance to protect your child while they’re gaining confidence on the road. Contact our team at (800) 777-5620 or reach out for a Freeway Insurance quote online today. You are also welcome to stop in for a face to face meeting at one of our convenient locations

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