It has finally happened. Your little girl or boy has grown up, and now they are holding the keys to their very first car. That image is enough to make any parent’s heart beat a bit faster, but no matter how much you want to you cannot physically lock your child up and refuse to ever let them drive. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure your teenage driver knows how to handle certain situations safely while on the road.
Below are five common driving situations your teenage driver needs to know how to handle.
1. How to Deal with a Flat Tire
It is bound to happen – your teenage driver has a flat tire. Make sure he or she knows to pull completely off the road, preferably on a flat surface. If they have roadside assistance, calling them should be the next step. If not, make sure he or she knows how to change a flat tire, with the first step always being making sure they are out of traffic and in plain sight of oncoming traffic before attempting to change it themselves.
2. What to do when the Check Engine Light Comes On
If the dreaded check engine light should come on, instruct your child not to ignore it. The first thing your teenage driver should do is to check and see if there are any changes in the car’s performance, any unusual noises, any electrical smells, or smoke from the tailpipe
If there is, they should immediately and safely pull off to the side of the road and call for assistance. If none of these problems are present, their next stop should be to take the car to either the dealer or your mechanic and let them diagnose the problem.
The worst thing they can do is completely ignore it and continue to drive.
3. What to Do if their Car Breaks Down on the Highway
Unfortunately, most people will experience a car breaking down while driving. Make sure your teenage driver knows what they need to do. First of all, if possible they need to move the car to the right shoulder of the road preferably at least 10 feet off of the roadway. They should also turn on their emergency flashers, and refrain from exiting the car on the driver’s side. It is much safer to climb over and get out on the passenger side.
After calling for assistance, they should remain with the car, standing on the passenger’s side as far off the highway as possible for safety. All passengers should do the same. No one should stand behind or in front of the car. Make sure they know what information to give when calling for assistance including:
- Their exact location. For example the name of the highway.
- The direction in which they were traveling
- If possible the last mile marker they passed, as well as the last exit they passed, and the distance to the next exit.
- The make, model and color of their car
4. What To Do In Case of An Accident
If your teenage driver should get into an accident, they need to know what to do. First of all, it is important to stay calm and take the necessary steps to ensure their safety and the safety of others involved. Next, they need to check themselves and their passengers for any injuries, and if needed, call for medical help immediately.
The next step should be to call the police, even if the accident is minor. Then, if it’s safe to do so, they should then move their vehicle to a safe location and turn on their hazard lights.
Exchanging information with the other driver(s) involved, including names, contact details, insurance information, and license plate numbers is a must. Take photos of the accident scene and any damages for insurance purposes.
Lastly, make sure they know to call you or their guardians about the accident and seek their guidance and support throughout the process. Remember, staying calm, following proper procedures, and seeking assistance are essential when dealing with a car accident.
5. Know the Appropriate Way to Handle Road Rage/Aggressive Drivers
Your teenage driver should also know the appropriate way to respond when encountering an aggressive driver or road rage. It’s important to remain calm, avoid engaging in aggressive behavior, and not escalate the situation. If necessary, they can change lanes or find a safe place to pull over and report the incident to the authorities.