For a teenager, there’s no bigger thrill than getting your driver’s license and the freedom that comes with hitting the open road. But as any parent knows, there’s a lot more to driving a car than just knowing how to drive. Before you hand over the keys to the family car, it’s important to teach your new driver about safety and how to care for a car:
Cell Phone Usage
This may seem like one of the easiest safety tips to talk about, but it needs to be hammered in at home. Too often, teen drivers, and adult drivers for that matter, are too busy checking their phones and end up in accidents as a result. In fact, in 2019 alone, more than 8,700 drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding. Teach your teen that cell phones should be off-limits, even when stopped at a red light.
What To Do In The Event Of An Accident
Even if your teen is a careful driver and is serious about safety, car accidents do happen. They can often happen quickly and without warning. You need to walk your teen through what they need to do if they’re in an accident. Teach them when to stay in the car, when to move the car, and how to handle the exchange of information. The more your teen knows the better chance they have of staying safe. Research has shown that motor vehicle accidents make up more than half of personal injury cases, and you want to do all you can to help your teen avoid injury.
If you new teen driver happens to get pulled over while driving, teach them about how to handle themselves. Teach them to respond to the officer’s instructions and give them the necessary paperwork they’ll need.
Again, this might seem like an obvious safety tip, but it’s one worth reviewing. Not only should your teen not be looking at their phone, but they need to be observant. They need to survey the road around them, pay attention to driving conditions, and be aware of any accidents that may be ahead. That also includes knowing how far apart they may be from cars or trucks in front of them. In 2012 alone, there were nearly 4,000 deaths involving large truck collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Bottom line: it pays to pay attention.
A big part of driving involves not just driving, but also how to care for your car. That’s why it’s important to teach your teen about basic vehicle maintenance. They’ll need to know about oil changes and how and when to add oil. They’ll also need to know about their car battery and how to jump a car. It’s also helpful for them to know about tire maintenance, including how to change a tire and how to keep an eye on tire treads. The more they know now, the better off they’ll be as they become more experienced.
Driving can be an extremely relaxing activity that your teen will only grow to love more the older they get. But driving is a privilege as a teen and your new teen driver needs to know all about what they don’t know. Even if they think they know all the rules, there’s a lot to teach them and a lot to impart about the seriousness of making bad choices while driving. So take time to teach them what they need to know so they can establish good driving habits that will last them a lifetime.