As your kids grow, so do their freedoms and responsibilities. A common step many teens take in becoming adults is driving. However, it is understandable to be worried as a parent, especially with statistics showing that teenagers are three times as likely as older drivers to be involved in fatal crashes. In addition to helping your teen buy their new car, there are other contributions you can make to ensure your child’s driving experience is great and safe. While they might know the basics of driving, there are certain lessons that you have to pass on to them. This will teach them how to handle tough scenarios and how they can make the most out of their vehicles. Are you unsure about what to teach your teenager? Here are some important things your teen should know about driving and becoming a car owner.
The importance of reading the car manual
Even as an adult, you’re easily overcome with excitement whenever you buy a new machine or equipment. This means you may forget the important documents that give instructions about the machine or equipment. So, you can only imagine how your super excited teenager feels about driving and owning a car. It’s crucial, especially for new and inexperienced drivers, to familiarize themselves with their vehicle’s old or new manual.
By encouraging your child to read the manual, you’re helping them care for their car more independently. They will also know more about their car’s features and the recommended maintenance schedule they would have to follow. Fortunately, it’s easy to download a car manual off the internet, especially if your teen drives a used car that may not have these documents. They can also pick up several important tips from online resources and discussion boards if they need more information. By instilling this practice in them, you help them enjoy their car and identify issues ahead of time.
How to respond to warning lights and sounds
The check engine light tends to baffle many new drivers. What makes it even more difficult to understand is that it could be on for several reasons. Usually, the common culprits are likely to be required oil changes or your car having a loose gas cap. You must teach your teen how to conduct these basic steps when the light comes on. In addition, they must also observe any sudden changes or strange sounds from the car. If these steps don’t work, it would be better to send your car to the mechanics to perform a more thorough check.
Car insurance and extended warranties
Many adults still do not fully understand what it takes to own a vehicle and auto insurance. Whether your child bought their car or not, you must teach them the basics of getting insurance and why it is important. You must teach them what their insurance plans cover and the situations under which the cost would be their responsibility to handle. For instance, their insurance plan may cover thefts and accidents, but situations like natural wear and tear and repair bills would have to come out of your or their pockets. You should also explain how warranties offset those additional costs. Many vehicles purchased from dealerships come with warranties. But these warranties often last between 3 to 5 years, and once they expire, you will be left to cover any faults. You can help your teenager avoid such instances by getting a car extended warranty before their initial warranty expires.
Even though you might be paying for these services, it’s a great way to set your child up better in the future when they are fully financially independent and can afford certain services for their cars.
What to do after getting stopped by the police
You’re not always going to be with your child when they start driving, so it’s best to always prepare them for likely situations in your absence. One thing that will probably occur is getting pulled over by the police. You must teach your child how to remain calm and compliant when such situations occur. It is nerve-wracking, but they must be as composed as possible. There are several things that an officer can tell your child that they might not be familiar with, so you must guide them through their rights and other local driving laws to ensure they do the right thing.
Instruct your teen to always keep their important documents in a pouch. These include the vehicle’s registration, insurance, and driver’s license. Keep it in a visible space so that the officer can see your child’s hands as they reach for their documents. You should also let them understand how vital it is for them not to argue with the officer. Instead, teach them the right procedures they must follow.
Driving in harsh weather
Another important lesson to give your teen is how to drive in harsh weather conditions, especially if you live in areas prone to unpredictable weather. Therefore, you should take them for a practice drive through heavy rain or the snow. By logging in more hours and giving them real-time experience, you will feel more comfortable when they are out in a storm and would be more comfortable driving because they know what to do.
So, teach them how to remain calm and patient. If they feel the weather is too bad, they can pull over until they feel safer on the road. Sometimes, you also have to let them know when they have to stay home during bad weather.
Handling road rage
It would be best to teach your kids that although sometimes getting upset on the road would happen, it’s best to avoid getting involved in road rage situations. Road rage has many consequences that can either be minor or extremely severe. People will always offend your teen while driving or might be the offenders. When such situations crop up, teach them to take deep breaths and remain calm or be apologetic even if they yell obscenities at them. It’s not worth getting into a road rage situation.
Handling car accidents
Accidents are unavoidable. So, new and inexperienced drivers will likely be involved in a few accidents when they start driving. As a parent, though you might want to avoid such situations from happening, it’s best to teach your kids how to handle car accidents, especially when you are not around. Teach them to safely pull over after an accident and call the police. You must also teach them how to exchange insurance information with other drivers, but avoid discussing the accident and who might be at fault. They must also learn to take notes and pictures immediately after the accident.
Deal with tire change and blowouts
Tire blowouts are scary for any driver, new or experienced. But teaching your child how to handle this experience would be much easier for them. Show them how to pull off the road safely, even if it means they would destroy the tire completely. You must also show them where to find their spare tire.
If you can teach them how to change a tire completely, that’s good. Show them the right tools they would need to complete the process. But they can also call for roadside assistance and have it fixed by a professional. The most important thing is that they are off the road and safe when doing so.
Driving under the influence
Teenagers are notorious for getting a little wild when they start experiencing independence. You don’t always know where they are going or what they are up to. The best thing you can do is talk them through likely situations, and one of these conversations must cover drunk driving. Unfortunately, some teenagers drink, even under the age limit, and nearly 60% of all road-related teen deaths involve alcohol. Even though that has decreased recently, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have this talk.
Should your child ever find themselves in such a situation, encourage them to avoid driving at all costs. Instead, have them call you or your partner to pick them up if they end up drinking. They might get into trouble, but that is way better than facing dire consequences and raising bills.
Be very cautious on the road
Teaching your child to be extremely careful on the road is an absolute must, so keep this in mind. It doesn’t mean they must always be afraid, but they must learn to think for themselves and other drivers. Teach them how to keep an eye on their surroundings as they drive. Safe and cautious driving will help them anticipate any warning signs of a potential accident and find ways to prevent that.
These conversations and lessons are extremely important to have with your child. Even though they might think you are doing the most, they will listen to you and use those tips. Now that your child might be at a crucial stage in their life, you must be prepared to help them navigate these areas.