According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, parents can cut the likelihood of their teen driver being in an accident in half by having them participate in a quality crash avoidance program. ADEPT’s computer-based teenSmart is one such program, and it’s proven effectiveness prompted a partnership between ADEPT and the National Safety Council. Numerous insurance agencies now offer discounts to teens who complete the program, too.
As the parent of a teen driver, it’s vital you set rules and educate your teen about the risks of unsafe driving. You should also teach your teen how to maintain a vehicle to decrease the chance of becoming stranded on the roadway or getting in an accident due to improper maintenance.
Lay Down the Law
- Limit the number of people in your teen’s car. A study conducted by AAA indicates that the risk for a fatal crash increases with each additional passenger.
- Set a curfew. According to the DMV, the per mile accident rate for teens is three times higher after 9 p.m.
- Create a driving contract defining the rules (including vehicle maintenance) of driving and what consequences are if broken.
- Texting or talking while driving should be off limits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that distracted drivers caused nearly 400,000 injuries in 2011.
Teach Good Car Maintenance Practices
Inform your teen that maintaining the vehicle not only keeps your teen safer on the roadway, it extends the life of the car. Proper maintenance can ward off costly repairs.
- The owner’s manual. Take the time to go through the owner’s manual with your teen. Give specifics on what will happen if your teen neglects to care the vehicle—for example, not changing the oil causes the engine parts to wear quicker, damaging the engine.
- Tires. Tires are easy to maintain, but they are frequently overlooked. A blowout can cause an accident with disastrous consequences. Make sure your teen has a tire gauge in the vehicle and knows how to use it. Your teen should check both tire pressure and tread once a month, and look for signs of dry rot at the same time. If the tread is worn or if the rubber is brittle and cracking, it’s time for a new set. TireBuyer has all-season Nexen tires that offer good traction in rain and snow.
Teens need to be prepared for any roadside emergency. A basic emergency kit should have:
- Jumper cables
- Extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Paper towels/rags
- Tire pressure gauge
- Energy/granola bars
- Basic hand tools (hammer, screwdriver, pliers)
If your teen travels in an area with ice and snow, add these to the kit:
- Snow brush
- Ice scraper
- Kitty litter (used to increase traction if stuck in snow)