8 things teens need to know about driving safely


When our son, Kyle, got his license just a few days ago, we freaked. He saw freedom and an open road; we saw inexperience and car crashes. However, as parents who recognize driving as a rite of passage, we know the importance of letting go – but doing so safely. After all, there’s only so long you can sit in the passenger side with a watchful eye, your hand glued to the grab handle. Although we can’t predict everything that will happen out on the road, there are scenarios your teen can prepare for that will give everyone some peace of mind.

If you have a kid just itching to take his or her car out for a joy ride, sit down together and review the following list of driving tips first. Make sure to also go over the list yourself, as these tips will help drivers of all levels stay aware and secure.

Most importantly, remember to breathe, and remind yourself that at least you won’t be playing chauffer anymore!

  1. Don’t text or talk on a cell phone

Texting causes distracted driving because you’re not focusing your attention on the road. According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), for every six seconds of drive time, drivers who are receiving or sending a text spend 4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road. To give you a sense of how long that is, 5 seconds is enough to travel the length of a football field.

What’s really worrisome is that when teenagers are texting, they spend 10% of the time outside of the lane they’re supposed to be in. Cell phone usage causes 21% of fatal car accidents involving teens ages 16 – 17 each year.

If you simply must talk on the phone, use a Bluetooth device.

  1. How to avoid road rage

Inevitably you will encounter a situation where you inadvertently anger another driver or they anger you. The best advice? Take a few deep breaths, realize that your anger will dissipate quickly, and do not follow through with dangerous maneuvers like tailgating or cutting people off. If another driver is doing these things to you, just ignore them.

Your safety is most important—not a few seconds of retaliation.

  1. How to deal with a flat tire

If your car is equipped with a spare and an inflation kit and you know how to change a flat tire, pull up your sleeves and get to work! Otherwise, investing in roadside assistance (like AAA) is the best option. Once you’ve pulled yourself off the road, call roadside assistance and let them change the tire for you.

  1. What to do when a police officer stops you

Pull your car over to the side of the road, roll down your window, and turn off the ignition. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and have your license, registration, and proof of insurance close by. Do not argue with the officer.

  1. Don’t drive drunk and don’t let friends drive drunk

This one is a no brainer, but nevertheless important to reinforce. If you are planning to drink, choose a designated driver ahead of time. If a friend is drunk, do not get into his or her car under any circumstances. Call a family member, another friend, or even take a bus or taxi home.

  1. What to do if your Check Engine light comes on

Don’t panic if your Check Engine light pops up—your engine won’t die on the spot. Today’s cars are extremely complex and engines are monitored by an internal computer. When the computer senses something is off, it’ll turn the Check Engine light on. The cause could be as small as a loose gas cap (in which case all you need to do is tighten the cap). However, it is also possible that your car is experiencing a larger failure, such as a broken catalytic converter (which reduces exhaust gases). A broken catalytic converter requires upwards of $2,000 to replace.

The point is that if you find your Check Engine light on, you should take your car to the shop as soon as possible. Driving for too long with the light on can lead to costly consequences.

If your Check Engine light comes on while smoke is billowing from your tailpipe or you’re noticing mechanical noises or funky smells, that’s probably not a good sign. Pull over immediately and call for roadside assistance.

  1. Don’t speed

More speed = more splatter. According to www.AllenCountyDriveAlive.org, speeding increases the distance your vehicle travels from the time you recognize an emergency to when you react. It likewise increases the distance it takes to stop your vehicle and dramatically increases crash severity.

If your speed increases from 40 to 60 MPH, your speed increases by 50% while the energy released in a crash more than doubles.

  1. What to do if you get into an accident

It happens to even the best drivers, so it’s good to know what to expect. First, check for injuries; if you’re ok, pull out of traffic and turn on your hazard lights. Call the police and exchange insurance information, noting the damage done and taking pictures of the cars involved.

-David and Lynetta





~ by 2ndtononeservice on February 27, 2013.

2 Responses to “8 things teens need to know about driving safely”

  1. […] more useful car care tips, check out our blog on 8 things teen drivers – and really all drivers – should know or our post on the importance of a brake inspection. And to learn more about 2nd to None Service, […]

  2. […] more amazing car care tips, check out our blog on the importance of a brake inspection or tips on how to drive safely for teens – perfect for back-to-school […]

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