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4 Tips to Teach Your Teens Before They Drive Their First Car

Teaching your teen to drive might be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of your life. Although you may want them to stay little forever, driving is an important life skill that your teenager will rely on for the rest of their lives. Before you get them their first car and behind the wheel, here are four tips to teach them about driving safely and responsibly.

How to Plan Ahead

Driving requires a level of foresight and awareness that many teenagers haven’t yet developed. This can make predicting consequences and constantly being aware of their surroundings a challenge. To help make the transition onto the road easier, talk to them about the importance of following directions, calculating mileages and ensuring they always have enough fuel to get them to their destination and home again.

The Basics About Car Repair

What do you do when you get into the parking lot and your engine won’t start? How do you jump start a car or react when your tire blows out while you’re driving? You may learn a thing or two yourself as you walk your children through the steps of emergency car repair including how to find a tire service and how to safely handle a breakdown.

At the bare minimum, make sure that your child learns how to check their car’s oil levels, how to jump start their vehicle in an emergency and how to change a spare tire.

Weather Conditioning

While most states require teens to drive in a variety of weather conditions before they can get their license, most of their training usually takes place on bright, sunny days. Unfortunately, there won’t always be clear skies and parking lots, so your teen has to learn about the unique challenges different types of weather present to drivers.

Talk to them about why it’s important to add additional space between them and other vehicles when it rains. Hydroplaning starts when a vehicle is moving at least 35 miles-per-hour, and it can cause serious sliding when someone breaks that leads to an accident.

Snow storms and flash floods are always something drivers need to be aware of, and you should make sure your teen knows how to check local weather advisories and respond accordingly when the forecast isn’t good. This also means knowing when it’s better to sit tight and see something out rather than risk it and try to make it home.

How to Call for Help

Let your teen know how to get in touch with their car insurance’s roadside assistance. This can be life-saving in the event of an accident or sudden breakdown. You should also make sure that you walk your teen through the steps of what to do during a car accident. Many teenagers will panic and not know whether they should call their parents or the authorities; no matter what, in the event of a collision, 911 is the best first step.

With these tips in mind, you can help your teen practice safety behind the wheel and protect themselves as they learn to drive. They have plenty of time to learn basic operations and driving maneuvers, but there is often a large gap between driving education and practical survival skills.

Try to integrate your child’s basic driving instruction with real-life tips that will help them build confidence and feel more comfortable on the road. And, of course, be sure you always lead by example by driving safely yourself.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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