10 Things Your Teenagers Should Know Before Driving Alone

assist your teen drivers with driving safely without youTeenagers are usually eager to get on the road driving, alone and often don’t think ahead on how to prepare for common mishaps for new drivers or even drivers in the Greater Houston area. Traffic in Houston can be extremely unpredictable so being more aware and planning ahead can help alleviate issues that may come up, plus some other more common sense things to help our ‘all-knowing’ teens as they embark on ‘adulting’ with a car.

  1. How to change a flat tire – Make them practice putting a tire on, and taking a tire off so they will be ready in case a tire pops, goes flat while driving or they walk out to the parking lot to find their tire is flat
  2. What to do if they get lost – GPS would be the first choice, but if your phone is dead or an actual GPS is unavailable then you need to stop at the nearest gas station and ask for directions. Hopefully they know how to use a map and keeping one in their car would also be helpful if gas stations aren’t open or aren’t in a safe neighborhood.
  3. How to talk on the phone while driving – Unless your car has “hands-free” settings for your phone then you need to pull over to make calls/send texts. Be sure to remind them to pull over in a safe neighborhood or area that is well lit, this includes the side of the freeway – making sure it is safe for them on the side of the road.
  4. What to do in an emergency – Give your teen examples of possible accidents/scenarios and ask how they would respond?
    • Someone hurt? Call the paramedics and give first aid to the best of your abilities.
    • Flat tire with no spare? Call a tow truck to deliver the car to the nearest mechanic
    • No mechanics open? Roadside assistance could possibly repair the tire on site.
  5. What to do if a friend is about to drive under the influenceNEVER get into the car with a person who is under the influence of anything. Always try to stop the person from driving or at least keep yourself from being part of the situation
  6. How to jump start a car– Show your teen how to pop the hood, and place the cables correctly, first the negative (black to black) then the positive (red to red). And also how to disconnect and lower the car. It’s usually a good idea to keep the engine running as long as possible to help recharge the battery. Not many teens know that auto parts stores will check your battery for free, and install it if they buy a new battery.
  7. How to handle road rage – Two important rules: First, don’t interact. Second, put as much space as possible between you and the other driver.  Let them have their distance to act a fool and be prepared with the exit plan should something go wrong.
  8. Who’s in charge – The driver always calls the shots, your teen should always know when they are the driver they make the rules and they can pull rank if a passenger is being unruly.
  9. How to spot police officers – someone parked in an odd spot or driving slow for no reason? Knowing how to spot a cop is good so you can be reminded to obey the rules of the road. Should they get pulled over, don’t just pull over anywhere, go to a lit area where they can feel safer. The cops make ask if they saw them, simply reply that you were going to a safe place to pull over. Be courteous!
  10. What to do if an accident occurs
    • Get safe, call 911 if necessary.
    • Get insurance info, names, and phone numbers of those involved
    • Documentation: take photos of everything from the damage on your vehicle to the scene of the crash. Write down what you remember happened, what streets, how many cars on the road, the conditions of the road and whatever else you remember and as you continue to remember as details may appear foggy or turn foggy
    • Don’t talk too much or admit fault.

Hopefully these tips have helped you and/or your teen with their driving experience. We have another blog that might be helpful for teen drivers and responsibilities as well. Should you have any questions about these tips, your teen driver on your policy, car accident questions or any car insurance questions, please contact Paula Smith Insurance as we would be happy to help be a valuable insurance resource for you and your family.

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