Learning to drive is a major milestone for many teens. It allows them a degree of freedom they've never had before. However, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Driving a car can be dangerous if it isn't done in a safe manner. Before your teen hits the road, you need to teach them how to be a responsible vehicle owner. Here are five things to include in these lessons.
Learn Basic Maintenance
Cars need regular care in order to keep running. Your teen needs to be aware of what this care consists of. It is generally recommended to change the car's oil every 3,000 miles or based on the manufacturer's instructions. Likewise, they need to know when to change transmission fluid and how to change a flat tire. This will keep your teen prepared for accidents and able to plan for standard maintenance.
Don't Drive Impaired
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be a life-ending mistake. But even if your teen is lucky enough to survive, they can get them and the rest of the family in major trouble. In Michigan, an underage driver can be charged with an OWI with any amount of alcohol in their system. This charge can cause major legal, social, and financial issues. So, make sure your teen knows to never drink and drive.
Be a Safe Driver
Does your teen know the basics of safe driving? Whether through you or a driving education program, they need to learn how to drive safely. This starts with the basics, like knowing how to operate the car. But then it moves on to include distracted driving and aggression toward other drivers. If your teen is going to be a responsible vehicle owner, they need to know the dangers that come with driving and how to minimize them. Whether they're driving alone or with other family members, they need to understand that they are in charge of everyone's safety.
Show Courtesy to Other Drivers
It can be frustrating when other drivers don't act in the way that we want them to. And sometimes your teen might be impulsive and cut other drivers off in a hurry to get where they're going. In order to be a responsible vehicle owner, your teen needs to know how and when to show courtesy to other drivers. Make sure that they truly understand that there are actual people in the other cars that will be impacted by their decisions. If they think about it this way, they're less likely to act on a frustrated impulse while on the road.
Keep the Car Clean and Locked
Finally, your teen needs to be able to take care of the car itself. While clutter is often unavoidable, they need to make sure that the car doesn't get messy to the point of danger. Show them how to clean it and set a schedule to make sure that it gets done. This is especially necessary if multiple family members share the car. This can cause trash and germs to build up quicker. They also need to remember to lock the car, as one motor vehicle theft is reported every 42 seconds in the United States. By locking the car and keeping it clean, you can make it a less appealing target for thieves.
The best way to make sure your teen will be a responsible vehicle owner is to prepare them for everything they might need to know on the road. If they can respect themselves, their car, and the other drivers, they are on their way to success. Teach them these five things and they'll be in a good position to become a responsible car owner.
Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.