Five Things Teens Should Know About Driving

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Before your teen gets behind the wheel and takes off on their own for their first joy ride, there are a few important things they need to know. Sit down and have a heart to heart with your child before they hit the road. Set some ground rules for driving (they may have a license, but you can still take their driving privileges away if need be), and make sure they understand what the consequences will be if they fail to follow the rules- either the law or the rules you set for them.

What to do in the event they have a flat tire...
Make sure they know what to do if they get a flat tire. Flat tires are inevitable- they can strike at the worst possible times, and your teen needs to know how to safely move their vehicle out of harm's way and call for assistance. If your teens gets a flat tire, make sure they know to move to a shoulder, put on their flashers, and call someone for help. Make sure they always have a charged cell phone with them for use in case of emergencies. If they know how to change a tire themselves, make sure they have the proper tools to do so.

How to respond if they get stopped by a police officer...
Unless your teen is speeding or is guilty of a traffic violation, it's unlikely that they will be stopped by a police officer. However, these things do happen, as well as accidents, and random license checks. Make sure your child knows how to politely communicate with law enforcement- to roll down their window, and respond with respect, not to get out of the vehicle unless asked to do so, not to argue with the officer, etc. They'll also need to know where the vehicle's registration is located.

What to do if they get into an accident...
If your teen is involved in an accident, and isn't seriously injured, make sure they know what to do:
Call 911 or the police and wait until a responder arrives on the scene. A first responder will then help or guide the drivers to moving their vehicles to a safer area, out of traffic while information is collected and exchanged. Encourage your teen not to simply exchange a phone number with the other driver involved. Make sure they know to file a report with the police, and then take the next steps from there.

What to do if they see the check engine light come on...
This can be scary for a teen who has never encountered the dreaded check engine light before. Often times, it's not a major issue, but it can certainly turn into one if ignored. If there is a noticeable mechanical problem, make sure your teen knows to get off of the road and to a safe place to turn the car off, and then call for assistance. Having a service like AAA is great for teens who may encounter trouble on the road from a broken down vehicle to a flat tire. If the light comes on and there is no sign of an obvious problem with the vehicle, you'll want to take it to a dealer or trusted mechanic to have it looked at- sooner rather than later.

How to handle a cell phone while driving...
The best rule of thumb is not to use your phone while driving at all. Many states have laws against talking and driving- where you must use a hands-free device in order to talk on the phone while behind the wheel. If your teen must make a call, send a text or look up directions, encourage them to pull off to a safe place before looking at their screen. A glance of the screen isn't worth someone possibly losing a life over.

Having honest conversation with your teen regarding these topics will let them know what you expect from them, and will help them know what to do if they find themselves in a less than desirable situation.

Brought to you by Bob Pulte Chevrolet.

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