Teens don't have the same driving experience as adults, placing them at higher risk of injury when behind the wheel. As a parent, though, you don't have to prohibit your teen from driving. Instead, you should encourage safe driving habits while ensuring that their car is equipped with the following four essentials.
Statistics show that roughly 36 percent of all new cars are sold without a spare tire. Without a spare, these drivers risk being stranded on the road if they get flat. By equipping your teen's car with a spare, he or she can get safely back on the road by replacing the flat tire. A full-size matching tire is best, but even a smaller donut tire will suffice.
Your teen's car should also have extra fluids in case of emergency, including coolant, engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid. Something as simple as running over a pothole can damage the oil pan, causing oil to quickly leak out. If your teen has an extra bottle of oil, however, it can keep him or her on the road until they find an auto mechanic. It is also useful for every teen to know just what each fluid is used for, so it would be helpful to teach them a little about the internal workings of the car.
A toolbox is another essential item that your teen should have in his or her car. You can include common automotive tools like a socket wrench, pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, road flares, jumper cables and a pair of gloves. A toolbox is also the perfect place to store the tools needed to change a tire, such as a jack and a tire iron.
Hopefully, your teen never needs to use it, but it's still a good idea for him or her to carry a first aid kit in their car. If they are injured or encounter someone else who is injured while driving, your teen can use this kit for treatment. While you can buy first aid kits from most automotive stores, they are easy to make. Just include some bandages, rubbing alcohol, gauze, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, a splint, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, and aspirin.
Of course, these items are only helpful if your teen knows how to use them. So spend an afternoon teaching your teen about these items. As we recommended previously you can even practice jacking up the car and allowing your teen to change the tire. Once your teen is familiar with these items, he or she will have greater confidence behind the wheel.
Hypothermia and frostbite are real dangers if you happen to be stuck with a non-working car. Some climates, like the one here in Calgary, can lead to chilly temperatures even during the summer months. While temperatures during a colder summer evening won't likely lead to hypothermia, this becomes a real danger the during the rest of the year. Although frostbite danger is low until the temperature starts approach -30 degrees Celsius, negative temperatures are incredibly uncomfortable if not prepared for them. You may also require nimble fingers to replace whatever part is preventing your car from working, and that will be exceptionally more difficult if you can't keep your hands warm. A warm jacket will go a long way in helping you be prepared for adverse weather conditions.
If you are looking to buy a quality jacket, look for one that is down filled. Depending on the temperature, polyester fill and even wool coats will not be super effective. There are more expensive high performance jackets, but it is not necessary to spend several hundreds of dollars on them unless you absolutely prefer them.