Having your teenager begin drivers ed and eventually get their license can be a scary thing, and you want to make sure you child is being as safe as possible when behind the wheels. Instill these 5 basic safe driving tips early on, and they will become second nature once your child passes their driving test.
1. Familiarize yourself with your vehicle.
Whether it’s the car you always drive, or a friends or parents vehicle, it is always important to know your vehicle. Scan the car and make sure you understand all the buttons and controls. Know where all the signal lights are, and check they are all working before going anywhere. This is especially important if you are driving at night.
2. Keep maps and a safety kit in your car.
One of the best ways to prepare for any emergencies you may encounter on the road is to make sure you have maps and a safety kit in your car. Thought most rely on GPS and phones to find direction, having physical maps available in case these devices die isn’t a bad idea.
Break downs and accidents can happen, and having a safety kit on hand will keep you prepared for these instances. Your safety kit should include flashlights and batteries, road flares, jumper cables, a spare tire, a tire iron, other tools, kitty litter (for traction if you are stuck in the snow), a tin can and some candles (to melt snow and ice that can build up beneath your tires), oil, windshield washer fluid and coolant. You should also have a blanket, a couple of bottles of water and some snacks, since you may be stuck for a few hours. Also, always make sure you bring your cell phone with you when you’re on the road.
3. Know (and pay attention to) all road signs.
It may sound like common sense, but on long road trips or driving late at night, it’s easy to miss some important road signs while behind the wheel. Some signs, like changes in speed limits, could lead you getting a ticket if you’re not paying attention. Familiarize with these signs and always be on the lookout when you’re driving. Also, be sure to obey all parking signs to avoid getting a ticket or, worse, getting towed. Once you’ve parked your car, double check your surroundings to make sure you didn’t miss any important parking signs.
4. No cell phone use while driving.
While it is important to bring your cell phone with you in the car in case of emergencies, it is illegal to use your phone while driving. Though hands free devices are allowed, it is best for new drivers to only use their phone while driving in emergencies. If you do need to make a phone call, find a safe place to pull over and make the call.
5. Avoid distractions – focus on the road!
Being a new driver is exciting and gives you a lot of freedom, but the responsibilities of driving should not be downplayed. It’s likely as a new driver you’ll be driving your friends a lot – be careful not to get too caught up in their conversations and always keep your full concentration on the road. You can always pick up that conversation once you get to your destination safely.