Let’s put aside your teen for a moment; are you ready for your teen to hit the road? Knowing your teen will be behind the wheel for the first time can be stressful. We all know the dangers and statistics of teen drivers, but we can combat these statistics by talking with teen drivers and making sure they’re prepared for whatever comes their way. Here are few tips to get communication going before he or she gets behind the wheel.
Know Your Car – Make sure your teen is familiar with all the features on the vehicle he or she will be driving and make it a rule to always have the gas tank above 1/3 full.
Seat Belts – this is non-negotiable. If you’re in the car, click it. Airbags alone will not protect you in the event of any accident.
Obey Speed Limits – Speeding is one of the main causes of fatalities in teen accidents.
Distracted Driving: – Cell phone use, texting, using headphones for music, drinking beverages and eating food are all distractions that can dramatically increase the chances of an accident. Check with your cellphone carrier for the “It Can Wait Pledge”.
Alcohol and Drugs – I am sure we are all well-aware of the dangers of alcohol and other drugs and how it impairs our judgment behind the wheel. Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect your ability to function properly behind the wheel as well. You need to emphasize to your teen that it is never ok to drink alcohol or take an illegal drug (or legal drug) and get behind the wheel.
Passengers and friends – Talk to your teen about the dangers of being distracted with friends in the car, try to limit the amount of passengers, and make sure that everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt.
Breakdown/ Accident – Talk to your teen about the chances of a breakdown or accident and give them some guidelines of what to do in case of an emergency.
Safety First – If your teen needs to pull over for an emergency, try to find a well-lit area, pull off away from traffic and try to stay inside the car with the doors locked and windows shut. Once the car safely parked, call a parent or emergency contact.
Emergency Contacts – Make sure that your teen has emergency contact phone numbers; such as police, hospital, towing service, auto repair shop, fire department, auto insurance agent, etc. You can keep an emergency folder in your glove box for quick reference. Make sure they have our number in case they break down.
Emergency kit – Put together an emergency kit stocked with a backup cell phone battery, flashlight, snacks, water, flares, first aid kit, blanket and gloves.
Be in the Know – As a parent, make it a rule that you always know when and where you teen will be driving, and your teen know how to get there.
Having an extra driver in the house can be a positive thing, if the necessary precautions are made. Keep your teen safe behind the wheel with these tips. It is also important that your teens regularly service their cars. Teach them what to look for. Sign your teenager up for one of our car care clinics. It will save both of you a lot of money down the road.