It’s that time of year again…time when the kids are going back to school. And time when many young drivers will be out on the road, driving to class or extra-curricular activities. Perhaps even an after-school job.
As adults, we’re used to road rules and know where everything is in our vehicles should we need to access them quickly. But our teenage and young-adult children aren’t. So, we’ve compiled a short list of things to do and check to provide a safe and confident environment for inexperienced drivers.
First let’s cover a few road rules…
#1: SLOW down! Especially in school zones and other areas heavily populated by pedestrians.
#2: STOP for that school bus and/or parents loading or unloading children in designated areas.
#3: Hands FREE! Do not text and drive. Even talking on the cell phone is beginning to be monitored by officials everywhere, especially in school zones.
#4: Come to a COMPLETE stop at intersections when prompted and look both ways – then look again. Don’t take a chance and run that yellow light. Traffic in SWLA is horrendous. Drivers have to be more aware and more cautions than ever before due to the extreme volume of motorists, cyclists, motorcycles and pedestrians.
Now a few preparation tips/ideas…
*Make sure all Tags, Registration, and Inspection Stickers (state optional) are up to date.
*Review your automobile Insurance policy. Did you add your young driver? Is your coverage adequate to protect him or her on their excursions?
*Place Insurance card and vehicle registration certificate in an easily, accessible place and make sure your young driver knows where they are.
*Is your student’s driver’s license valid? Is he or she going to college out of state? Do you need to register and insure their vehicle in that state? Don’t assume! Call your agent and know the facts about how your insurance works in these situations.
*Is your regular vehicle maintenance up to date? Check the tires, make sure all lights are working. Don’t wait until inspection time to replace those that aren’t. For your and their safety, do so immediately.
*Check your wiper blades. Again, don’t wait until your vehicle fails and inspection. For safety’s sake, replace them now.
*Get an auto tool bag/roadside assistance kit for your vehicle and make sure your teen/young driver knows how to use the items it contains. These are relatively inexpensive and have things like jumper cables, tire gauge, air compressor, flashlights, flares, and other items to aid and protect the driver should the need arise.
*Does your insurance policy offer Roadside Assistance? Perhaps you should add this feature. Again, this is normally a relatively inexpensive price to pay for peace of mind.
*What about Uninsured Motorist coverage? There are more uninsured/under insured drivers out there than you think and more inexperienced drivers than you know. This added coverage protects you or your young driver in the instance of an accident with one.
*Clean car inside and out, including ridding glove box and consoles of unnecessary items.
*Know where your vehicle manual is located. You never know when this might come in handy.
*Is your, or their, vehicle equipped with On-Star? Make sure your teen/young driver is aware and understands how to use this feature.
*Phone charger/adapter in vehicle? Don’t text or talk and drive! Have a hands-free device such as blue tooth or install a new radio that offers blue tooth options which pair with your iPhone or Smart phone.
*Place emergency contact info/numbers in the glove box or with the insurance card and registration. Make sure your child has a copy in his/her wallet or purse and that your number in their phone is clearly marked ICE (in case of emergency).
Here's one more item you might want to consider: Juvenile Life Insurance. No one wants to think about burying their child but sadly, many do and unfortunately, one of the chief causes of death to young people is automobile accidents.
These are just a few tips and tricks we came up with to help ensure your young driver and school-age children have a safer environment this school year. I’m sure if you put some thought into it, you can come up with a few more.
Make a list and implement them today and until next time remember…. Back to school safety is EVERYBODY’s responsibility!
Tommy Curtis and Staff
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