Even though travelling with children all these years might have seemed tiresome and demanding, it’s nothing compares to the stress and worries of letting your teen drive a car on their own. While your child might be thrilled with their newfound freedom, all you can think about is whether they will make it home safe and sound.
Thankfully, by talking to your teen about the importance of car maintenance and teaching them how to be conscientious and responsible drivers, you can ensure their safety and security on the road. So, here are some of the most important tips to share with your teenager:
Checking the lights regularly
Whether your teen is driving a second-hand car or a brand new one, checking the lights before driving is one of the most important things to teach your child, as they are the only means of communication on the road, apart from the horn or an occasional wave. What?s more, if the lights aren?t working properly and the vehicle can?t be seen on the road, it presents a potential safety hazard. So, tell your teen to check the signal lights in the front and back, low and high beams, as well as brake and back-up lights at least once a week, preferably during the night.
Inspecting the tyres carefully
Having tyres in good working condition is absolutely crucial for safety on the road. As inflation can easily be measured with an electronic tyre gauge, make sure your child always has one in the car, and uses it regularly. Tyre tread, on the other hand, can be checked with the coin test: simply put a 20c coin into one of the circumferential grooves of your tyres ? if the tread doesn?t reach the bill of the platypus, it?s time for new tyres. It might also be a good idea to carry a spare tyre in the vehicle at all times, and give your child a firsthand lesson on changing it, if the need arises.
Keeping the car fully stocked with spare parts
Apart from being able to change tyres, your child should also know how to change certain spare parts, in case they encounter a breakdown or other issues while on the road. But in order to do that, it?s incredibly important to keep your teen?s car stocked with frequently used tools and most needed supplies. Besides the necessary emergency and first aid kits every vehicle should be equipped with, it would also be a good idea to invest in the best aftermarket car parts available, such as spark plugs, brake pads and air filters, as they come at a higher quality for the fraction of the price compared to original manufacturer parts.
Changing the oil and the fluids
Another incredibly important thing to do is show your child where all the fluids are and at which levels they should be kept, by opening the car bonnet. Regularly changing the oil is one of the most significant things to teach your teen, as it?s essential for keeping the engine in optimal condition. While this simple task can be taught in less than 30 minutes, you could also take your child to a reliable mechanic for a professional lesson. Apart from the engine oil, don?t forget about brake, power steering, coolant and windshield washer fluids as well.
Checking the brakes and battery
When checking the oil, it?s vital to tell your teen to have their brakes and battery checked as well. Making sure the battery connection is clear, with no signs of corrosion, is incredibly simple to do, and it will help your child avoid one of the most common issues on the road ? not being able to start their car. However, brakes are one of the most important things when it comes to safety, which is why it?s best to leave their maintenance to professionals; just teach your teen to have them inspected about every five months.
Don?t forget about safety tips
Teaching your child how to take care of their vehicle isn?t enough to ensure their safety on the road; you also need to teach them how to drive carefully and consciously. Apart from making sure they follow laws and regulations, talk to them about the things they may not have learned in driving school, such as paying close attention to warning lights, learning how to drive at night and in unfavourable weather conditions, or even something as simple as reading car seat rules in case they babysit often, to ensure they are as safe and sound as possible while driving.
Regardless of your teen?s driving experience, just a bit of basic car maintenance knowledge, as well as some crucial safety tips, will go a long way towards keeping your child safe on the road, even in emergency situations.