Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Getting Your Teen Driver Ready for the Road

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There's good news for parents who have a teen who's ready to begin driving. There are practical steps you can take to keep your teen safer when her or she hits the road. Not only is it important for your new driver to know how to be a safe and responsible driver, it's equally as important to know the basics about the car itself and what to do in an emergency. Here are some tips:
  • take the time to get to know your vehicle. Whether it's brand new or a well-used family vehicle, have your teen take the time to review the owner's manual.
  • Write down- and keep in a convenient place - information such as oil weight, oil filter, tire pressure, coolant, transmission fluid and steering fluid that are used in your vehicle so if he needs to take it in for maintenance, he is able to answer the basic questions.
  • Show her how to check the oil, transmission and steering fluids, and point out where the engine, battery, air filter and radiator are located, as well as the reservoirs to fill for the radiator and windshield washer.
  • The exterior of the vehicle is important too. Make sure the headlights and taillights are all in working order. Check that the wiper blades are properly cleaning your windshield. Invest in a tire pressure gauge, which, in addition to the traditional pencil style, is now available in digital models.
  • In the event of an emergency, make sure your young driver knows where the registration and insurance cards are kept. An easy-to-access place is the glove box. Glove box organizers or registration wallets are great ways to keep those important documents together.
  • While parents can't control other drivers or situations that teen drivers might encounter on the road, they can at least provide the basic tools in a Roadside Emergency Kit. Memberships to auto clubs and a GPS on a cell phone can be helpful, but not always accessible depending on where the incident occurs.
Pre-assembled emergency kits are available for purchase, but even if you create your own kit, make sure you review with your teen how to use each item it it, such as roadside flares,  a quart of oil, a small first ad kit, extra fuses, a flashlight, a multipurpose tool that includes pliers, wire cutters, pocket knife, bottle opener, saw, screwdrivers and files, a tire inflator, rags, a pen and paper, and a help sign or white cloth to signal for help.

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