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Teens and Driving: Emergencies on the Road

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Consider joining an auto club, which will provide your teen with an automatic “road support” system in case of emergency. If you join, be sure your teen has a membership card which lists the 800 number. Also consider giving your teen a gasoline credit card (only for use in emergencies).

Anyone can benefit from taking an auto repair course, but whether or not your teen has done so, store the following basic emergency equipment in the car. Even if she doesn't know how to use everything, having the items on hand may make it easier for a repair expert to get her going:

  • An adjustable wrench for tightening and loosening bolts
  • A jack and spare tire
  • A light gauge wire to tie up muffler or tailpipe
  • Three triangular reflectors in case of a breakdown
  • A first-aid kit
  • A flashlight (with fresh batteries
  • A piece of white cloth

If your teen is in an accident, he'll be flustered. To prepare him, write down the following information on an index card and keep it in the glove compartment in case of emergency.

If there is an accident, your teen should:

  • Call for medical help if anyone has been injured.
  • Notify the police and do not leave the scene of the accident before they arrive.
  • Get the name, address, phone number, insurance company, and driver's license number of anyone who was involved.
  • Get names and telephone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident.
  • Write down the details of the accident and notify your insurance company as soon as he gets home.
  • Get a copy of the police report and save copies of everything.

Your teen should know the universal signals for help: Tying a white cloth to the antenna or propping the engine hood up. Your teen should also know what to do after creating the appropriate signal: Get back into the car, lock the doors, and wait for help. Tell your teen not to get out of the car until the police or state patrol arrives; if passersby offer to help, they should be asked to call the authorities.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager © 1996 by Kate Kelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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