Get Your Teen Ready for the Open Road
By Guest Author, Marcus Beatty
Younger drivers, those under 20 years of age, are three times as likely to be involved in an accident, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You have enough on your mind with a new teenage driver without worrying about the car your child is driving. You also do not want to purchase a brand new vehicle for a new driver. On top of educating your teen, your solution is to ensure that the vehicle your teen drives is safe and reliable.
How Mechanical is Your Young Driver?
Some teenagers have substantial mechanical skills, others do not. Take the time to educate your teen about motor vehicles. If you do not have the skills, find someone who does. Your teen should know the basics of changing a flat tire and jump-starting a dead battery.
Additional knowledge can further improve safety on the road. Your teen should learn the signs of potential brake failure. If the brake pedal begins to go to the floor, or the brakes are making loud noises, the vehicle should be inspected. Your young driver needs to be aware of how the vehicle handles. If the car becomes difficult to control, it should be pulled off the roadway.
How Safe and Reliable is the Vehicle?
Take a used vehicle to a mechanic you trust and have it inspected before you purchase it. This may not always be possible and not all issues are noticed on an inspection. When you are looking at used car safety and reliability ratings, check a few sources. You want to get unbiased opinions and accurate information.
Look at sources including Kelley Blue Book, Consumer Reports and even Forbes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a link that allows you to stay up-to-date with any safety recalls. You can also use a manufacturer’s website to determine if the vehicle has any special safety features, including additional air bags.
How are Your Young Adult’s Driving Skills?
Driving skills come with experience that beginning drivers do not have. This makes it all the more important for a vehicle to have reliable brakes and well-maintained suspension. Discuss possible mechanical failures with your teen and provide solutions. If the power steering fails, your teen should understand that the car could be controlled by using extra arm strength, with both hands on the wheel. If the brakes fail, your teen needs to look for a safe area to bring the vehicle to a stop.
Remind your young adult about the dangers of drinking and driving. Emphasize accidents caused by drinking and not using seat belts.
Add a Few Safety Measures
Give you teen a safe driving kit. The car should have a can of Fix-A-Flat or other temporary tire repair, a set of jumper cables and a quart of oil in the trunk. You teen also needs to know how to use these items. Finally, over emphasize the importance of not using a cell phone while driving. For young adult drivers, this includes not talking on a phone much less texting on one. Texting while driving is illegal in most states. Many states ban any cell phone use by new drivers.
About the Author:
Marcus is a retired social studies teacher and grandfather of 12 who blogs from his log cabin.