When your teen finally gets behind the wheel, it can be a scary time. As a parent, you are obviously going to worry about their safety and whether or not they are ready for the responsibility of driving. You’ll want to do everything you can to ensure that your teen stays safe whenever they get on the road. Here are just a few things you can do to help them with that and give yourself just a little peace of mind.
Teach Them Right
The most important place to start is by teaching your teen the right way to drive. The habits they pick up now will likely follow them for the rest of their adult lives. Begin by giving your teen plenty of lessons on how to operate the car and allow them to practice in safe places, like an empty parking lot. Work on things like parallel parking, merging, and passing. If you are not comfortable teaching your child how to drive, consider hiring a driving tutor to ensure they receive proper instruction.
It’s also a good idea to enforce some basic rules for the car. For example, talk to them about the importance of limiting distractions, such as not using their phones while they drive. Before long, your teen will have some friends along in the car with them, without parental supervision. When this time comes, you’ll want to have laid a foundation of safe driving habits.
Ensure They Have a Safe Car
Next, you should make sure that the car your teen is driving is a safe one. If you’re buying a new or used car for your teen, it’s a good idea to spend some time researching the safety features included. Does this model have a good safety rating? How many airbags are there? Does it come with advanced features like lane departure warnings or automatic brakes?
It’s especially important that you do your research when buying a used car. You should get an accident report for that car to see if it has a history of getting into accidents. You’ll also want to take it for a test drive, have it inspected by a good mechanic, and only purchase it from a reputable source.
Remind Them to Do Maintenance
No matter how new the car your teen is driving, they’ll need to perform regular maintenance. Unfortunately, teens can be rather forgetful, which is where the parents come in. Regularly remind your teen to perform maintenance on their car and make sure they actually do it. Cars that are not regularly maintained are more likely to break down or get into an accident.
Have your teen find their suggested maintenance schedule, then add those dates to your calendar. The worst time to realize that you’ve waited too long to replace your brakes is when you’re speeding down the highway in bad weather. If you can stay on top of your teen’s maintenance schedule, you’ll reinforce the importance of proper maintenance and hopefully, they’ll continue to do it long after they leave home.
Build an Emergency Supply Kit
Once your teen is out on the road on their own, there’s no telling what might happen to them. Maybe they get a flat tire late at night, or they get stuck in the snow while they are driving back home. A good thing you can do is prepare an emergency supply kit that your kid will keep in the trunk of their car. Some things you can include in this kit are a flashlight, water bottles, some basic tools, jumper cables, road flares, and a portable phone charger. The more situations you can prepare your teen for, the better off they will be when something happens on the road and you’re not there.
Let Them Know What to Do in an Accident
Finally, no matter how well you prepare them, they may end up in a car accident. If you’re both lucky, your teen will escape without any major injuries. However, if your child is injured in the accident, you’ll want to get that attended to as quickly as possible. According to SteinLaw, a Tampa children’s accident lawyer, “If a person or a company is responsible for your child’s injury due to their own negligence, it is imperative that you act quickly.”
In any event, your teen will need to know what to do in case of an accident. Give them the emergency numbers they can call, talk to them about the information they’ll need to exchange with other drivers and remind them to take pictures of the accident. There comes a time in every parent’s life when their teen becomes more independent and starts going out on their own. The best thing you can do is prepare your teen for this time and ensure they are doing things that will help keep them safe. You’ll never stop worrying about them, but at least you can have a little peace of mind.