New drivers will copy their parents habits. But good automobile owners don’t only drive safely, they practice regular maintenance and repair and are courteous on the road. Lead by example and cultivate good car ownership and driver habits in your teen driver with these simple, yet important lessons that will make you a safer driver as well.
1. Be a Courteous Driver
Know the laws and obey them. Always wear your safety belt. Demonstrate complete stops at all stop signs. Explain right-on-red if it is allowed in your state, and always use your turn signals, drive with headlights on and obey the speed limit. Follow other cars at a safe distance and never yell at other drivers.
2. Minimize Distractions
Keep distractions to a minimum while behind the wheel. This means cell phones, food, and even conversations with passengers should be kept in check. Don’t do your hair, makeup, or fuss with the radio or music device while you drive. Consider a hands-free digital device, or have your passenger be the one to change the music. Also, you should manage your time well enough and get your makeup done before you’re on the road.
Take time to show your teen how he or she can maintain the car. This is a valuable skill as it can save money and keep your new driver safe. Make sure he or she knows how to change a tire, change oil, check coolant, replace spark plugs and check for tire wear. For tire wear, all you need is a penny. Insert the coin in some of the tread grooves. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered, you have more than 2/32” tread depth; if the top of the Lincoln Memorial is covered, you have more than 6/32” tread depth remaining. If tires wear thin they can develop small leaks that turn into flats. If new tires are needed, consider a brand like General Tires. The company improves the ride, comfort and safety of its tires with each generation.
4. Passenger Responsibility
Be a responsible passenger. Passengers can have a positive or negative effect on a driver. When you let your teen practice behind the wheel don’t criticize or make comments that might discourage or distract them. Likewise, when they are passengers, be vocal about what distracts you as a driver. Later, have a frank conversation with them about how to speak up if they have a passenger who distracts them.
5. Prep, Checks, Responsibilities
Driving is a skill, but it also takes preparation. That’s why it’s never all right to get behind the wheel while drowsy. Simple checks, like blind spot checks before you change lanes, can slip your mind. You’re reflexes are also significantly slowed when tired. Make sure your teen knows driving is a responsibility and privilege. Sit down with him or her and have a talk about substances and the dangers of the road. While this is a difficult subject for some, you’re responsible for impressing on your son or daughter how dangerous the road is and how driving under the influence compounds these dangers, not only to themselves, but to other drivers as well.
Teens are granted new freedoms when they earn their driver’s license, but with it come a plethora of responsibilities. Put limits on their car use until they have demonstrated they are mature enough for more freedoms.