Fall is here and that means back to school for young people of all ages. For teens and college kids, back to school time means more time on the road in their vehicle. Driver education classes teach the basics of driving rules and regulations. But it's often up to the parents to teach young people what to do if they experience a breakdown and get stuck on the side of the road. Here are some tips you can pass on to the young driver in your life.
- Pull the car over to a safe location as soon as you suspect something is wrong. Usually that means the right side of the road, but sometimes you can also pull into a parking lot. Make sure the location is accessible so that a tow truck can find you, but also safe.
- Turn on your hazard lights as soon as possible. After you’ve pulled over to a safe location, turn on those hazards. Especially on highways, it’s difficult for other fast-moving vehicles to gauge the situation of others on the road. Your hazard lights warn other drivers to be careful as they pass by.
- Make sure you have a charged phone on hand. You don’t want to be stranded without a phone or one that has a dead battery. Bringing a charger on a long road trip will help prevent this. And if your phone battery is low, use it as little as possible so you can communicate with a tow truck or call others to help.
- Have your AAA or roadside assistance number with you at all times. If you were issued a card, make sure it’s in your wallet, the glove compartment of your car, or have the number programmed into your phone.
- If you need to leave your car, use the door on the opposite side of the roadway to exit and enter your vehicle. Usually it’s safer to stay with the car if you are pulled over in a safe place in an area of high traffic.
- Have an emergency kit on hand in case you are waiting a while. Some items to include in the kit are a flashlight, snacks, bottled water, first aid kit and blanket.
No one, including young people, likes to imagine having a breakdown by the side of the road. But most of us will find ourselves in that situation sooner or later and being prepared ahead of time can make all the difference in how your young driver handles the situation.