Helping your teenager get their license is a nerve-racking experience. The best chance you have of making it a less harrowing experience for yourself is to prepare your kids as much as you can.
Teaching them a few basics before they hit the road can make a huge difference, and make them more able to handle or avoid an emergency.
How to change a tire
At some point while driving, you’re going to get a flat. It’s just one of those things that happens.
Knowing ahead of time what to do in that situation makes all the difference. Make sure your kids know where the spare tire, jack and tire iron are kept in the car. Make sure they have the number for AAA if you have a membership.
If you live somewhere that gets lots of snow, you need to know how to drive in it. Even if where you live doesn’t usually get that cold, it’s still a good thing to know.
If you don’t get stuck in the snow, you can still get stuck in the mud. There are actually three parts to this – how to avoid getting stuck in the first place, what your best chances of getting unstuck by yourself are, and what to do if you can’t get out on your own.
There are plenty of people who clearly never learned any manners on the road. There are certain basics that everyone should know because they help make driving safer and easier.
It can help avoid road rage incidents, which injure or kill up to 1,500 people a year. It’s mostly simple things like how to merge when it’s busy, using your blinker, using the passing lane for passing only and how much space to leave between cars.
Talking to your teen about those small specifics can mean the difference between an accident and a safe drive.
What to do when you get pulled over
Most people will get pulled over, even if it’s just for a taillight being out. What you do when you get pulled over is going to affect how the police officer treats you.
In other words, if you have a teenager who likes to get a little mouthy, make sure they know what they can and can’t say to an officer. You also want them to know what their rights are, and know how to stop.
Pull over, put the flashers on, roll down the window and leave both hands on the steering wheel.
How to get gas and air
My grandmother never pumped her own gas until my grandfather passed away. She was in her 80s when she first learned. It’s much easier to learn when you’re younger, though. If you haven’t shown your child how to fill up the tank yet, do it.
A helpful hint is that the gas gauge always points to the side of the car the tank is on. The same goes for putting some air in the tires. They need to know how to pump up a low tire, and how to make sure they don’t overfill it.
A tip from my mechanic friend: Always go by the numbers on the sticker inside the driver’s side door for how much air your tires need.
What the symbols mean
How many times have you had to look up what the new symbol on your dash meant? Probably at least a few times.
Hopefully, your child will take the time to check the manual and tell you, but they might not. We are dealing with teenagers, after all, and they can be unpredictable.
Keeping a handy dashboard reference guide is a good idea, but it’s easier just to explain the colors to them. Red means something important is going on and it needs to get checked out right away.
Yellow means that something needs to be serviced, or sometimes that a fluid might be low. Blue and green simply mean that something is working, although if they’ve never seen it before it’s a good idea to investigate.
Preparing your child for driving isn’t easy. You have to fight through their excitement to drill safety issues into them. Working with the car, getting their hands dirty and gaining a solid understanding of how others drive is a great start.
It can make your child a safer driver before they even get on the road.
Latest posts by Sarah Landrum (see all)
- Signs Your Child Has an Eating Disorder (And What to Do) - June 29, 2016
- 6 Things to Teach Your Teens Before They Get Their License - November 2, 2015
- What to Do When the Cookie Comes for You: How to Make Your Unhealthy Favorites Better - October 12, 2015