With approximately 1,179 fatalities and 116,458 injuries due to car accidents on state highways, roads, and streets recorded in 2013, teaching upcoming generations about car safety is vital. If your child is or will be a new driver soon, here are some helpful tips as to how you can make sure your child is ready to be out on the road.
Teaching Your Child How to Drive
As a parent, teaching your first child how to drive is scary. However, it really comes down to a few things. First, give your child a tour of the vehicle. Explain each gear, the dashboard, and safety features around the car. Then, explain how to turn on the car as well as how to use turn signals, headlights, emergency lights, safety features, and windshield wipers.
Second, make sure your child is comfortable behind the wheel. This includes making sure the mirrors and seat are adjusted properly, their hands are in the correct position on the wheel, their seat belt is secured, and that they understand what each gear means. Having your child silence their cell phone so it doesn’t serve as a distraction is a good idea as well. Since you it’s been a long time since you learned how to drive, it is important to think back to all of these basics. It’s also important to remain calm because if you are stressed, then your child will feel that stress as well and not perform to their best ability while learning how to drive.
Finally, after the proper positioning in the car comes the scary part: the actual driving. Start off with driving around an empty parking lot, where the car won’t have to exceed 20 to 30 miles per hour. This will be a great time for your child to get comfortable with pressing the gas and brake pedals without slamming down on them. Once your child is comfortable with this, have them practice driving in low-traffic, low-speed areas. This will provide the opportunity to practice using turning signals, stopping at stop signs and four-way stops, following speed limits, and more. After this, you can continue to build their driving knowledge by driving in more challenging areas as time goes on and they become more and more comfortable behind the wheel.
Teaching Your Child About Their Car
Now, learning how to drive is one thing, but learning how a car physically operates is another. It is important to teach your child about their car’s oil levels, how to change a flat tire, and how to check and add air to their tires. The four kinds of oil that can go in a vehicle are synthetic oil, synthetic blends, high mileage oil, and conventional oil. Pure synthetics contain no oil, semi-synthetic lubricants contain less than 30% oil content in concentrate. While these details may go over your child’s head, it’s important to at least have this information handy to them somewhere in their car. Your child should know when they need to get an oil change, how to know when to stop driving and get help if there is a flat tire, and how to go about checking if their tires need air. Explain to your child that these aspects of their vehicle not only keep the car safe but also themselves.
Teaching Your Child About Car Expenses
Providing your child with the means to succeed is important. However, when it comes to the finances that come with a car, it is also essential for your child to understand just how expensive cars are to maintain and fuel. First, most states require periodic car inspections, which can cost quite a bit if something is wrong and needs to be fixed to pass inspection. Teaching your child how their car works as well as how much pieces of their car cost will make your child take more responsibility and make smarter decisions when it comes to driving and financing their vehicle. Depending on how many miles are put on your child’s car within a period of time, cars also require frequent oil changes. The more your child drives, the more often an oil change will be required to maintain the car’s health. Providing some financial responsibility to your child when it comes to their car will make them understand just how expensive it is to maintain their car.
Another financial responsibility that comes along with driving is buying gas. Oklahoma’s sales tax rate is currently 4.5%; while every state is different, most of the time gas is not considered cheap. Again, the more a car is driven, the more money needs to be put into it. If your child is responsible for paying for their own gas, they will make smarter decisions when it comes to driving. Not only this, but it will also teach them how to budget their money and understand basic adult expenses.
Teaching your child how to drive will definitely be scary at first, but the more you teach them about driving as well as the car itself, the more comfortable you will feel when your child goes to drive by himself for the first time. It is essential for your child to understand how their car works as well as the expenses that go along with it, whether they are borrowing your car or they have their own. Providing this responsibility to your new driver will help them understand and appreciate their newfound independence.