It’s almost that time that many of your children will be headed back to college over the next week or so or, your college-bound teen is all set to start school! But are they ready to handle the responsibilities of driving on campus?
Prepare and plan with them to ensure their car is ready and up to date with needed maintenance and items for the trip back to college. Also, ensure that they are members of a Nationwide Road Side Assistance program.
Note: Laptop, book money, bean bag chair, TV with DVD player, iPod, cell phone, shower tote and debit card—sounds like your college-bound teen is all set to start school! No, so to help make the driving adjustment easier for your teen, we’ve listed some helpful tips for you and your child to consider as they go off to school.
Car Check- Check your child’s car from front to back before they leave for school. For instance, make sure the headlights are in working order, the turn signals work, the oil level is good and the tires are inflated properly. These little steps will help ensure a safe trip for your new college student.
Pack a Car Accident Kit- As you pack everything up for school, make sure to include a car accident kit. The kit should include a first aid kit, blanket, flares, flashlight, batteries, jumper cables, pen, paper, emergency contact numbers and proof of insurance, cell phone battery, bottle water and change in case of emergency
Roadside Assistance– While your teen driver is preparing to go back to school you may want to consider purchasing a nationwide roadside assistance membership for them.
Insuring your College Student- If your teen driver is planning on taking your car to college, make sure to notify your car insurance company that your car will be housed at a different location. Depending on where your child is going to school, your auto insurance rate may go up or down.
Pay attention to Speed Limits- Two-thirds of motorists exceeded the posted speed limit during the 30-minute period before and after school
Obey Traffic Signs- Obeying traffic signs is something all motorists should do no matter where they drive.
Stay alert- Motorists should always avoid distractions while driving, but it’s particularly important in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
Allow extra travel time- Back to school often means increased congestion and longer commute times.
Review your travel route- Motorists should consider modifying their travel route to avoid school zones and residential neighborhoods.
Use extra caution in bad weather– Whether in rain, snow, fog or other inclement weather, motorists should use extra caution. Reduced visibility can make it difficult for motorists to see children and for children to see vehicles. It also can make it difficult to perform quick stops, if needed.
Use Headlights- Turning on a vehicle’s daytime running lights or headlights, even during the day, can make the vehicle more easily seen by children and other drivers. Just don’t forget to turn them off when you reach your destination to maintain your battery life.
Cell phone operation- Under no circumstances should you or your child be operating a cell phone while driving unless you have a Bluetooth hookup. Parents should not contact their child on the cell phone unless they are operating a Bluetooth. AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THEY BE TEXTING WHILE DRIVING. Accidents happen while texting and people die.
ARRIVING AT CAMPUS
Although the majority of people live on campus, some people don’t, and for those people: you’ll need to work out how you’re going to manage having a car. You’ll also probably need a car even if you do live on campus, as having a car can be very useful, especially at a younger age when you will be going out a lot and of course meeting people if you’re interested in networking. Don’t worry; it’s not as hard it sounds to have a car.
You should also take a drive around college and the surrounding area, making sure you know exactly where your local essentials are based, including where you will be getting groceries and such.
Make sure you know exactly where you will be able to park your car and try and find a free space that doesn’t cost you any money – parking can cost a lot of money after a few months, the prices can build up.
Locate the Essentials- Once everything is unpacked, go on a little road trip around the college. During your journey, make it a point to find out where the local grocery store, gas station, eateries and all-purpose stores, such as Wal-Mart and Target, are located. This will not only be helpful when you come to visit, but it will also make your child feel more comfortable about navigating around their new home.
Parking on Campus- while on campus, it is wise to check out your son or daughter’s designated parking lot. This will not only help you evaluate the surrounding area, but it will also give you the opportunity to refresh your child on some smart parking tips, such as: always park under a light, avoid overgrown areas, park close to the street or bus stop and be aware of your surroundings.
Campus Driving Conditions- Driving in a new environment can often catch even the best drivers off guard. That’s why it’s important for college students to drive cautiously and remain alert.
Pedestrians- An increase in the number of pedestrians walking around campus and town is always an issue at any university. It’s important to remind your teen driver of these important pedestrian tips:
- Stop for pedestrians crossing at all corners or crosswalks
- Don’t pass a car that has stopped at a crosswalk
- Always yield to pedestrians
Car Theft- Make sure to remind your teen driver to always lock their car doors and never leave valuable items inside the
car, such as CDs, iPod or laptops.
Don’t Drink and Drive- Don’t let your child become a statistic. Talk to them about the risks of drinking and driving. What can’t be emphasized enough is the fact that you shouldn’t drink and drive. Don’t do it – not only do you put your life at stake, but you put others’ lives at stake that are on the road with you (and anyone else’s in your or their car). Most people are mature enough to not even think about doing it anyway, but be aware!
Making the Grade- Many car insurance companies offer a “Good Student” discount to college students who maintain a “B” average or better. Not only does this provide parents with a 10 to 25 percent discount on their auto insurance, but it also gives college students an extra incentive to keep their grades up while away from home.
Review Tips for Preparing for the Trip back to College
- Is the car up to date with all its required maintenance, including oil change?
- Have the entire car inspected prior to going back to college: Brakes, steering, tires, suspension and all other major components and systems.
- Consider snow tires if needed.
- Sign up for road side assistance. Osceola Garage offers FREE Nationwide Road Side Assistance to all its customers
- Check the state Inspection due date
- Check the registration due date
- Check for current insurance card
- Check for current vehicle registration
- Have emergency contact numbers in glove box and on cell phone
- Consider GPS navigation tracking device (see page 13 for information) Plan the trip out in detail
- Be well rested before the trip
- Take breaks, bring water and snacks
- Have battery tested if it’s more than 4 years old
- Check for cracked/broken lenses, mirrors and other glass
- Don’t leave valuables like wallets, shoes, leather jackets or sports equipment in your cars where they can be seen because they invite break-ins.
- Don’t overload your vehicle
- Check all fluid levels
- Check tire pressure, including spare
- Check exterior lights, including signals and hazard lights
- Check wipers and wiper operation
- Check windshield washer operation
- Top off washer fluid
- Fill fuel tank
- Clean car, inside and exterior
- Trip information
- School information
- What to carry in your car:
- Cell phone and charger
- Road side assistance card
- Bottle of washer solvent
- Drinking water and snacks
- Road flares
- Small shovel
- Kitty litter (used for traction of snow, mud, ice)
- Jumper cables or battery pack (used to jump start dead battery)
- Gloves, shop rags
- Flat tire sealant
- First aid kit
- Tire gauge
- Small fire extinguishe
- Disposable camera (or cell phone with camera)
- Pen or pencil and paper
- Ice scraper