No one likes it when their car breaks down. This is especially true of teenagers who are new to driving without an adult. Here are some tips on what your teen needs to know if their car breaks down.
Explain to your teen that if their car breaks down, unless the car is on fire, they should remain in the car with the doors locked for safety’s sake. Depending upon where the car broke down – either in an intersection or along a busy highway – it is best to stay in the car.
If they were able to pull the car into a parking lot or onto the shoulder, it would probably be safe to get out. In either case, if they must exit the car, they should do so from the opposite side of the car. They may have someone offer to help. Rather than getting out of the car, they should crack their window and speak with anyone who approaches their car. They should keep their eyes out for a uniformed police officer or another emergency vehicle such as a tow truck.
They should look around to find out exactly where they are with the closest address or crossroads. Having as much information as possible will make it much easier for anyone trying to find them. Then they should call you on their cell phone to let you know what has happened. Since they’ll probably be shaken up, get their location from them, and then call someone to assist them.
Call your teen back on their cell phone and keep speaking with them until a police officer or tow truck arrives. Not only will talking on the cell phone help the time pass until help arrives, it will also help your teen feel less scared.
Tell them to turn on the car’s hazard lights. If they have flares or reflective triangles, those may also be used. This will allow oncoming traffic to see them and avoid hitting them if the car can’t be moved.
Even though it’s not recommended that your teen try to fix their own car, it is still a good idea for your teen to know something about fixing or maintaining the car.
Teach your teen the basics of car maintenance. Every driver, regardless of sex, should know how to change a tire. It would also be helpful to know how to check and change their oil, check and change any fuses that are burned out, and perform other routine maintenance. It may be a good idea to have your teen take a class to learn the basics.
As a parent you want to know what your teen needs to know if their car breaks down so you can pass that information along to them. Use these ideas to help keep them safe during any trip they might make without you.