Sending your teen driver out on the road alone is always a scary proposition for parents. We wonder not only if they are able to handle routine driving safely but also whether they are capable of dealing with the unexpected. Before handing over the keys, make sure your teen driver knows these five things.
Basic Mechanical Troubleshooting
No teen should be expected to be able to manage heavy mechanical work on the roadside or in a dark parking lot, but every driver should know the basics. Teach your teen how to know the difference between a dead battery, a bad starter, and loose cables. Have them demonstrate knowledge of how to change a flat and how to add gas with a can instead of at the pump.
Options for Roadside Assistance
Your teen may be able to deal with those simple problems without help, but other situations may call for a professional. Young drivers need to know how to reach your preferred towing company or your auto club, as well as an automotive locksmith for that inevitable day when the keys get locked inside. Be sure all those appropriate phone numbers and any relevant membership information are stored in the driver’s phone.
How to Handle a Traffic Stop
Some teen drivers are horrified at the prospect of getting pulled over, while others think nothing of it–assuming they don’t end up with a ticket. Regardless of your teen’s take on flashing lights in the rearview, they need to know which documents to present to the officer and where it’s safe to pull over. The sweet talk is up to them.
Safe Actions During Bad Weather
It’s best to have your teen driver avoid driving in bad weather, but sometimes the forces of nature provide us with surprises. High winds, heavy rain, lightning, and winter precipitation are the most common hazards. Teach your teen to reduce speed and how to handle hydroplaning. Explain that it’s fine to pull off during torrential rain but to do so in a parking lot instead of on the shoulder. The next time it snows, take your driver to an empty lot to practice driving on slick roads.
Actions After an Accident
Like a traffic stop, accidents scare some teen drivers. Explain that most of us will experience a collision or two in our lives, but that most result in no injury and only minor damage. Make sure your young driver wears a seat belt and knows has all the appropriate paperwork for the investigating officer. Teach them never to admit fault or get into a confrontation with the other driver.
Good preparation is key to making your teen’s driving experience a positive one. Don’t send a rookie driver out on the road without covering these essential skills and pieces of knowledge.
By Lizzie Weakley
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.