Keeping Your Teenager Safe, To and From School
As summer starts to wind down, we find ourselves heading toward what many parents affectionately refer to as “the most wonderful time of the year”: back to school! However, for some families, the beginning of this school year represents a bit of a change to the norm. If you’ve got kids in high school, there’s a good chance that this fall, rather than catching the bus or walking to school, they’ll be getting behind the wheel and driving themselves to class. It might be giving you palpitations to imagine young little Johnny out on the road on his own, but with a few preparatory steps and the proper planning in place, you won’t have anything to worry about!
Go Back to School – Driving School!
The first thing you’ll want to do before giving your teenager the keys to the family sedan is to ensure that she’s / he’s properly educated when it comes to the rules of the road and defense driving techniques. While you might consider yourself a good teacher and fairly-skilled behind the wheel, we always recommend the more structured approach of enrolment in a driver education course. Not only will this ensure that your son or daughter is getting the most up-to-date information on traffic laws, defensive techniques, and more, but it will also give them the advantage of cheaper vehicle insurance, as many insurance brokers take steps to provide discounts to first-time drivers with a training course under their belts. If you’re not sure which school to enroll in, the Alberta government has a list of licensed trainers that you can rely on to steer your teen in the right direction!
Finding that First Car
Now that you’ve armed your kid with the driving techniques she’ll / he’ll need to stay safe out on the road, the next step is ensuring that she’s / he’s got a vehicle she / he can rely on! To that end, we’ve got some pointers for you to consider while shopping the used car market:
- Do a background check. Before purchasing, check for any existing liens on the car, and ensure the VIN number on the dash matches the vehicle’s forms, and hasn’t been tampered with.
- Thoroughly investigate the vehicle. Take plenty of time during daylight hours to inspect every square inch of the prospective new car. Look for rust, repainted bodywork, upholstery damage, signs of excessive wear and tear, and any other potential red flags that could indicate trouble down the road.
- Take care of any additional inspections. If the vehicle is being registered in Alberta for the first time, you’ll need to have it go through an Out of Province Inspection. Similarly, if it was written off in an earlier life, it will be subject to a Salvage Vehicle Inspection before it can hit the road.
Follow these pointers, and before you know it, your teenager will be the proud owner of a brand new (used) car!
Driving Responsibly – and Without Distraction
So, you’ve armed your teen with the driving techniques to stay safe on the road, and a vehicle that can be relied on. The last thing we recommend taking care of is finding the time to talk about safe, responsible driving practices.
In today’s vehicles, there’s so much to distract a new driver from the task at hand. iPods, GPS, cell phones, infotainment centres, and more are all constantly vying for attention – and that’s before even throwing in more traditional diversions like food, make-up, and friends! Not only is distracted driving dangerous, but it comes with some pretty serious legal consequences as well. Take the steps to ensure that your new driver is aware of these rules and follows them – for her or his own safety, and that of everyone else on the road.