4 Fall Driving Tips To Keep Your Teen Safe
By now, the back-to-school time is upon us, and your teen is probably getting used to their new schedule, part-time job, and/or extracurricular activities and responsibilities. Whatever they have going on, chances are they’re going to be driving or riding alongside someone who is. If you plan on imparting advice to them about what they need to do to stay safe, keep in mind that not all seasons are created equally, and that there may be some specific issues to address that are specific to this time of year.
With the help of Nationwide auto insurance, we’ve put together this season-specific list of safety tips that can ensure your kids start the fall semester on the right foot.
Tip One: Be Careful Of The Vulnerable.
With this tip, cyclists specifically come to mind because they wear limited safety gear, ride on two wheels, and share the road with automobiles that weigh thousands of pounds. As Nationwide notes, “It’s important that your son or daughter knows how to share the road responsibly with cyclists. Several states have laws requiring motor vehicle drivers to give bicycles about 3 feet of space on the road, so be sure to review your state’s laws with your teen. Also, remind your child to always signal to notify cyclists of his or her intentions.”
Tip Two: Choose The Appropriate Footwear.
When the school year begins, it’s probably still a little early to break out the snow boots. Even though summer is officially over in September, it’s still early enough for your child to slide on the flip flops, but this particular type of shoe has its own dangers. “Many teens are still wearing flip flops this time of year,” Nationwide notes, adding that they are “not ideal for driving.”
The insurer adds: “Flip flops can get caught in the brake or accelerator and can also slow down foot movement between the two pedals. … Encourage your teen to pack the beloved shoes in a to-go bag and wear them when out of the vehicle.”
Tip Three: Ditch The Phone.
The most common warning is against texting and driving, and while this is very dangerous, it’s important not to overlook Facebook-ing, email, and web surfing as additional faux pas. “Unfortunately, more than four in 10 U.S. teens text while driving – a leading cause of accidents today,” the insurer notes. “Stressing the risks involved with texting and driving is a crucial conversation to have with your teen.”
Tip Four: Be Prepared For Travel.
Weather changes can cause a variety of mechanical issues, so it’s important that a teen has their car tested thoroughly before racking up the miles. This entails testing the car’s battery, so they don’t get stuck in precarious situations with no transportation. It also means getting oil changes, inspecting tires, and maintaining fluid levels. For a list of all systems requiring maintenance, here’s what Edmunds recommends.
- Radiator/cooling system
- Window washer
- Air conditioner
The autumn is a fun time for your kids. They’ll start thinking more about homecoming dances, hayrides, and football games. That’s a lot of planning and a lot of driving for a young person to undertake. And while you don’t want to get in the way of them enjoying the experience, you also want to look out for their best interests. That’s why it’s okay to be the “annoying parent.” You may not think they’re listening, but they are. They’ve spent their entire lives learning how to live through your words and actions. Even if you’re now met with an eye roll whenever you try to help, they’re taking it to heart, so make sure you remind them, and best of luck on a great school year!