Letting your teen drive can be an overwhelming experience for both you and your young driver. Following a few simple steps, however, can help ease your mind. Make sure you’ve gone over the following checklist before your teen gets behind the wheel.
Make Sure Your Teen is Familiar With the Car
This means more than knowing where the ignition and the CD player are located. Can your teen locate and turn on the windshield wipers while driving? Does he or she know how to turn on and off the ‘brights’ when necessary? Before letting teens take off on their own, parents should sit with them on a test run. Make sure they know how to quickly locate different items in the car and are comfortable turning them on and off while driving.
Learning to Drive in Difficult Weather
Whether it’s strong rainstorms, fog, ice, or snow, inclement weather can happen almost anywhere. If difficult driving conditions are present or could happen, don’t allow your teen to drive in these conditions until he or she has had adequate experience.
Making Preparations & Repairs
Flat tires can happen to anyone. A teenager needs to be able to make basic repairs, including changing a tire if necessary. Cell phones don’t always work and sometimes it takes time for help to arrive. An emergency kit should always be kept in the trunk. Some items to have included include blankets, flashlights, and even sand in case the car would get stuck in snow.
Always Know Where You’re At
Teenagers need to know where they are going and how to get there before starting the car. Getting lost or not being familiar with their surroundings is not something you want to do while still learning to drive. Even relying on a GPS may cause a teen to become distracted for even a few seconds. Teens should stay close to home and take familiar routes during the first few months of driving.
How to Act if Pulled Over by the Police
Every teenager needs to know how to respond properly when pulled over by a police officer. They should pull over to the side of the road, turn off the engine, and roll down the window. Teens should not make any sudden moves and never argue with the officer. If there is a dispute it can be argued in court.
Understanding Cell Phones and Driving
Even though teens should always have a phone with them in case of an emergency, they need to understand the dangers of texting or even talking on the phone while driving. While the laws regarding texting and hand-held use vary from state to state, most states ban all cell phone use for novice or teen drivers.
Purchase Quality Insurance
Finally; make sure you have good car insurance. This isn’t being negative but proactive. Even a minor fender-bender can cost a small fortune to repair. Hopefully your teen won’t be involved in an accident but if he or she ever is, knowing there’s adequate insurance will lessen the difficulties.
Being well prepared is the key to successfully putting your teen behind the wheel of a car. While we can’t foresee every problem, following these steps can make a difference.