Knowing that your teenager is safe and making responsible choices is a blissful feeling. Not only does this give you peace of mind as a parent, but it also empowers your teen to drive with confidence and conviction – which in turn makes them a safer driver.
Before your teen hits the road on their own, it’s important to educate them on as much safety-related information as you can. Below are five important things you should teach your teen prior to their solo embarkment:
Know about the car they’re driving
Car maintenance is likely an overlooked part of a teenage driver’s education. Driving school generally teaches students about basic functions of their cars, like how to use their turn signals or apply the emergency break. However, learning about a car’s health and basic maintenance functions will keep it safe on the road. Teach your teenager how to read the symbols on their dashboard display, as well as:
- Tire pressure: As tires start to deflate over time, the risk of blowouts become more prevalent. Teach your teen how to check the pressure of their tires (with a tire pressure gauge) and teach them how to inflate their tires at a local gas station.
- Oil level: It’s important to get a car’s oil changed every 3-5k miles. Make sure your teen understands the oil change symbol on the dashboard, as well as which type of oil the car requires (i.e. synthetic vs regular oil).
- Tire wear: Tires will lose tread over time, making them less safe to drive on and increasing the risk of a tire blowout. Your teen should be made aware of what a healthy tire looks like compared to a one that’s worn-out.
- Paperwork: Car registration and insurance information are important to have in a jiffy, especially if your teen is pulled over or involved in a car crash.
Always drive defensively
Your teen should always assume that everyone else driving around them are inexperienced drivers with no regard to anyone else’s safety. This means your teen should:
- Use their mirrors AND look over their shoulder before changing lanes
- Always wear a seat belt, no matter how far they’re traveling
- Keep both hands on the wheel for better control and reaction times
Put their phone and other distracting items away entirely
This one should go without saying, but it’s important to always reiterate this to your teen when given the chance. Compared to adults, teenage drivers have a 400% higher chance of getting into a car crash when texting while driving. Driving is a privilege and your teen should have no excuse for distracted driving. It only takes a few seconds of keeping their eyes off the road to cause a life changing wreck. Also, parents should ALWAYS model safe driving behaviors by (ahem) not driving distracted themselves!
Don’t ignore the little things
It’s easy to forget about all of the little traffic rules, especially when you’re just starting out. Some of the little things your teen should keep in mind are:
- Not crossing a double yellow line
- Stopping completely at a stop sign
- Adhering to speed limits (especially in residential areas)
- Being mindful of pedestrians crossing when turning right on a red light
- Reading signs at traffic lights carefully (e.g. some say “No turn on red”)
Be prepared for emergency situations
Although emergency situations may not occur very often, you’ll want your teen to be prepared well before they happen. Here are some scenarios your teen driver should be prepared for:
- Tire blowouts: If the steering wheel starts to wildly shake while driving, that may mean a tire has blown out. Pull over to the side of the road immediately if the steering wheel starts to shake or the ride becomes abruptly bumpier.
- Dead batteries: It’s expected that batteries start to fail after 3-5 years of use. Your teen’s car should have jumper cables available in case they need a jump. If no one else is around when the battery dies, it would be good for your teen to have access to AAA or a similar battery-jumping or tow-trucking service.
- Car Crashes: Getting into a car wreck, whether it was your teen’s fault or not, is incredibly stressful and frightening. The steps every driver should know are:
- Pull over safely to the side of the road or anywhere clear of traffic.
- Call 911 to send a police officer over to make an incident report, as well as an ambulance if your teen is injured.
- Gather evidence of the collision and exchange information with the other driver(s); take pictures of all cars involved in the incident and exchange driver’s license and insurance information.
- File a claim with the teen’s insurance company.
Original source: https://www.frtriallawyers.com