The end of summer has arrived, and that means students everywhere are headed back to classes. That also means teen drivers will be back on the roads driving themselves and their siblings to school, sports events, and extracurricular activities, among other destinations. Each of these routes have likely been taken many times before, and while that likely means your child knows exactly how to get where they are going, it can also lead to problems.
Having a car is a privilege that can be taken away should teenage drivers show they are incapable of being safe motorists. Here are some quick tips to share with your children to ensure they keep sharp eyes on the road and pay attention to their surroundings.
Safety is a Must
All of the normal rules apply, including that everyone in the car must have a seat belt on, music should be kept to a reasonable volume, and cell phones should absolutely not be used while driving. Each of these factors not only come with tickets and fines if they are not adhered to, but can also lead to injury or death should an accident occur.
Don’t Get Complacent
Traveling the same routes each day can mean drivers end up on autopilot, thinking about other things or listening to music or passengers’ chatter rather than fully focusing on the road in front of them. Be sure to remind your son or daughter to remain vigilant and aware of his or her surroundings, always on the lookout for other motorists, animals, people, or debris that might cross their path.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
You never know when your teen might have a car-related emergency, including a flat tire, engine trouble, or other issues. Pack an emergency kit together for trunk of their vehicle, including first aid items, bottled water, non perishable snacks, an atlas, road flares, warm clothes, a pair of old sneakers, blankets, jumper cables, and a spare tire with tire changing gear.
Bonus emergency preparedness tips: It’s also good to toss in an old cell phone that’s charged in case of emergencies, as out-of-service devices can still make emergency calls to 9-1-1. Go over how to change a tire, advise young drivers to never let their gas tanks get below one-quarter full, and make sure your teen knows how to read a map in case he or she is lost or stranded without good cell service. You can also store the number to your local towing company in case you need to call for a tow.
Be Careful Near School Zones and in Neighborhoods
Back to school means more students are out and about, and that includes young children who might be walking themselves to school. Be attentive in neighborhoods and near schools were young students might run out in front of traffic to cross streets.
Program Emergency Numbers Into Their Phones
Your teen likely knows to call 9-1-1 in the event of a true emergency, but what happens if their car runs out of gas, gets a flat, or otherwise breaks down? Having the number of a trusted towing partner stored in their phone is essential to getting them back on the road in no time.