Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

5 Ways to Prepare Your Teen for a Car Breakdown

Learning to drive means more than simply understanding the operation of the car and knowing the rules of the road. Teaching them these five skills can help prepare them to respond to this situation in the most effective way.

Changing a Tire

Although there have been big improvements to tires since the early days of the automobile, there are still nails and other debris on roadways. For that reason, a flat is still the most common roadside emergency. Teach your young driver not to drive on a truly flat tire except to go a few feet to a safer place, and make sure he or she knows how to change it.

Getting (or Giving) a Jump Start

Right up there with flat tires are dead batteries. Inexperienced drivers often leave things turned on or fail to notice alternator problems, leaving them stranded. Make sure they know how to jump a battery for themselves or for a friend. Get a starter pack to keep in the car so that they don’t have to ask a stranger for help.

Knowing When to Pull Over

The difference between a nuisance noise and a major problem can be hundreds of dollars. Make sure your young driver knows that an overheated engine, failing alternator, or brake problem is a reason to pull over immediately and get help. Teach them the danger associated with these and other serious breakdowns so that they understand the urgency.

Handling an Empty Gas Tank

Many teen drivers know exactly how much charge is left on the cell phone but have no idea how much gas they have. Combine that with the “beyond the E” mentality that some drivers have and you’ve got a recipe for running out of gas. Teach your teen how to fill the tank from a can and explain why the motor has to crank a few times to clear air from the lines.

Having Contacts Handy

Some roadside problems are not quick fixes. Your teen driver may need a tow truck and a car repair to get things taken care of. According to Legacy Auto, a car repair service in Boulder, CO, you will want to make sure their car is taken to a shop that is certified and equipped to handle all repairs. You will also want to make sure that the phone numbers of reputable services are on your young driver’s cell phone. An auto club membership is also a good investment.

Along with parallel parking and good signaling habits, we should also be teaching our young drivers how to deal with the inevitable breakdowns that their vehicles will suffer. These basic skills are essential to keep your teen driver safe.

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Tim Esterdahl

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