Car accidents have a number of causes. Sometimes they are due to poor driving behaviors, and sometimes they are due to poor choices. Despite the varied reasons for vehicle collisions, one thing is certain: Many car accidents have preventable causes.
If you have a teenage driver in your house, teaching them the basics of car maintenance can help them avoid an accident. When a vehicle doesn’t function properly because it has been ignored, breakdowns and collisions can result. While it is certainly important to be sure your child understands how to operate a vehicle, it is just as important that they know the basics of maintaining one.
Your teen driver should know the proper tire pressure for the vehicle they are driving, how to check the pressure and how to fill the tires. Teach your teen to check the tire pressure every time they stop for gas. They should do this rather than relying on any alert systems within the vehicle. Tire pressure alert systems only light up when tire pressure is already at a dangerously low level.
If you don’t know how to change the oil in your vehicle, don’t sweat it. If you do, provide your teen with a valuable lesson. If you aren’t a person who has learned how to change their own oil, at least teach your teen how often oil does need to be changed and where to go when it’s time.
When an engine becomes overheated, it can suddenly shut down. It can happen around the corner or hundreds of miles away. The engine won’t care if your teen is driving down a residential street or a four-lane highway. By checking coolant levels and knowing how to add more, your child can prevent an overheated engine from ever becoming a problem.
Cars today come with dashboards that can light up like an airport runway. This light means this, that light means that. Some lights indicate that immediate maintenance is needed, others provide you with a bit more time. Make sure your teen knows what the dashboard is telling them. This should be a lesson that goes along with any vehicle your child will be permitted to drive.
A good tip is to make a colored copy of the explanation for dashboard lights found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual and put it in whatever compartment is in easiest reach. This way, your child can pull out a slip of paper and quickly determine what may be wrong.
It’s fair to say that we have all pushed the limits when it comes to our gas tanks. Some of us make a habit out of waiting until the low fuel warning light comes on before we pull into the next gas station. Some of us have been caught by surprise simply because we weren’t paying attention.
Teach your child to stop for gas as soon as the needle indicates that there is only a quarter of a tank left. Better yet, have them fill up when they reach a half of a tank. If you can get your child in this habit, you won’t have to worry about them being stranded on the road and wondering how to fuel their vehicle.
Get your teen into the habit of checking the vehicle’s lights at night once a week. Turn on the headlights, tap the brakes, flick on the turn signals and turn on the fog lights. Doing this won’t automatically prevent a bulb from blowing while your child is driving, but your teen will have a better chance to being alerted of a faulty light while they are safely parked in your driveway.
Keeping the car washed is basic maintenance. A dirty windshield obscures views. Dirty lens covers dull lights. Get your teen in the habit of washing their car once weekly or more often if they travel through inclement weather or on unpaved roads.
As the parent of a teenage driver, you have the power to shape a lifetime’s worth of driving and car maintenance habits. When you take the time to teach your child more than the local traffic laws and how to operate a vehicle, you are setting them up for safety now and in the future. Use the tips above to help your child prevent accidents to the best of their ability.
If you or your teenager are involved in a car accident in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in South Florida, we are here to assist you. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will talk to you about your accident and advise you of your legal options under current state law. You and your family should not experience financial hardship for an accident caused by someone else.