Car Breakdown Safety Checklist for Teens

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As parents, you want to cover all of the bases before letting your teen hit the road on their own. It's common to start with the regulatory road rules, and prepare them with driving tips and vehicle knowledge to stay safe. While we strive to provide the necessary know-how for teens to stay safe while driving, there's also the unforeseen chance that they follow all road instructions to a tee, yet still incur a similarly dangerous situation—car trouble.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Bookmark or print this safety checklist to go over with your teen driver to prepare them for a possible car breakdown, and educate them on how to minimize risk.

  1. Prepare a safety kit. This can be something fun to do together. Gather things your teen might need in an emergency, such as a flashlight, first aid kit, flat-fixer, jumper cables, duct tape, gas can, etc.
  2. Trust your instincts. If you hear an unusual noise, smell or smoke, or feel like your ride is not smooth, pull the car off to the side of the road.
  3. Get the car off the road. If possible, it's best to move the vehicle to a safe place, off of a busy street or highway.
  4. Alert others in passing cars of your vehicle by turning on hazard lights, flares, and/or raising the hood.
  5. Call for assistance. Whether a family member, friend or a roadside service like AAA, seek advice from an experienced driver.

Test Your Knowledge

Parents and teen drivers can run through different scenarios together, and decide the best plan of action. This way, the education process becomes two-way, rather than a one-sided conversation. It can be a unique exercise for the whole family to discuss on a regularly basis to be sure everyone's prepared. Need an example? Try something like this to make it relatable:

  • You're about to merge onto the highway to go to the movie theater with some friends. As you come down the on-ramp, you feel a slight bump in tire pressure on the driver's side. Should you continue driving, drive to the next exit and get off, or pull over onto the shoulder of the highway?

For more information, check out the following resources from the Insurance Information Institute:

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