Learn how to help your teen become a safe driver! When your teen learns to drive, it can be quite the experience for them. After all, the independence that comes with learning to drive is invaluable. However, for parents, knowing your child is on the road can be worrisome.
While you cannot be there to do everything for them all of the time, you can impart some skills and words of wisdom for them to take on board which will help shape how they behave and react as they venture out into the more adult world driving affords them.
While their driving lessons and subsequent tests will give them the knowledge and skills to drive safely on the roads, there is a lot more to being a driver than simply driving. Having your own car comes with a lot of responsibility, and giving your teens the support and knowhow to deal with different situations will not only help them when driving but throughout their adult life too.
Without further ado, what should your child know when they pass their driving test?
Will your teen know what to do if their dash lights up like a Christmas tree? Chances are, this will rarely happen; however, getting them familiar with the different lights and colors so they know what each one means can reduce worry when driving. Some lights, especially when red, are urgent and require you to stop driving as soon as it is safe to do so and get help. Others need you to seek assistance when you can but aren’t urgent. Being a safe driver is knowing the car details inside and out.
Essential Car Maintenance
While they don’t need to be a mechanic, knowing what does and doesn’t feel right when driving is a skill that many long-time drivers are afforded when they become familiar with their car. Your teen won’t have this experience yet, so pointing out all the relatively common wear and tear issues and what to do should they notice any problems can help them be more aware of the car’s condition. Important topics to discuss are a Brake Service, windscreen wipers, oil, water, fuel to become a safe driver.
It will take some time before your teen builds up experience on the road, and the only way for them to get the experience is to be driving in traffic. Tips such as;
- Not driving with music too loud.
- Not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Always checking mirrors
- Using turn signals
- Keeping a safe distance from other road users
- Always let people know where they will be and what route they are taking.
- Keeping your phone battery charged for emergencies and location services enabled
- Should the police stop them – they will need to know how to behave, e.g., they should always keep their hands visible and comply with all instructions.
- Keep all driving documents in an easy-to-access location within the car.
- Check lights before setting off, especially in the dark and on long journeys.
Would your teen know what to do if they were in an accident? While no one likes to think of being in a car accident, if they know what they need to do, they can handle the situation to the best of their abilities. Navigating an accident as a driver means taking control depending on the severity of the accident.
If possible, they need to inform the relevant authorities and ensure they take pictures of all damage and other cars involved and get the details for their insurance company. They should always leave the car and move to a safe spot if they are uninjured but unable to drive on.
If they break down on a highway, they use their warning lights to alert other drivers and attempt to move the safe to a safe area to stop if possible. At all times, in the event of a breakdown, they should inform a recovery service and move away from harm and other car users, especially if they are on a busy freeway.
- Warning triangles to avoid a collision
- Bottled water
- Spare batteries
- Dry snacks such as protein bars
- A first aid kit
- A written list of contact details, addresses, phone numbers, next of kin, etc., so emergency services can inform people of any issues if their phone cannot be accessed.
The small details make all the difference when allowing your teen to gain more experience and become confident in their abilities as drivers. At the same time, you would hope they never need this type of information. Sadly around 38,000 people die annually in the US each year through traffic accidents, and your teen being prepared as a safe driver can help them or someone else in an emergency.