If you have a new teen driver, it's vital that they know what to do if they break down and need a tow. As their parent, the following are five key pieces of advice that you should give them.
1. Clear the Roadway
Make sure your teen knows how to move a car off the roadway in the event they can't drive it completely onto the shoulder. The steps are simple. First, turn on the hazards to alert other drivers, then check to make sure there is no oncoming traffic. Once it is clear, they need to put the car in neutral so that they can push the car to the side of the road. Advise your teen to only complete this task if there are two people — one to push from behind and one to operate the brake.
2. Alert Other Drivers
It's especially important to alert other drivers that there is a car broken down on the side of the road, especially after dark. Although the hazard lights are a good start, they may not be operating. Make sure the car your teen is driving has folding, reflective hazard triangles in the roadside kit. Triangles with LED lights are preferred since these are more visible after dark. Instruct your teen on how to deploy and how to set them about 10 feet from the rear bumper of the car, along the shoulder.
3. Don't Stand on the Road
Make sure your teen knows to never stand on the road. It may seem like a good idea at the moment, especially if they are trying to flag down help or alert the tow driver, but the most dangerous place to be is right beside moving traffic that is distracted by a stalled car. Advise your teen to stay in the vehicle with their seat belt one, as this will provide more protection in the event a car does hit their vehicle.
4. Empty Your Car
If your teen must leave the vehicle, such as to wait in a nearby safer area or to make a phone call, instruct them to take all items of value with them. This includes cell phones, computers, and backpacks. The only thing they should leave behind is a note indicating where they are going and how they can be reached, in the event the tow driver or law enforcement checks the vehicle. Further, they should not leave the car to seek help if they are in a rural area or in bad weather since getting lost is a real danger.
5. Request Identification
Finally, your teen needs to be warned to always check the identification of the tow driver before unlocking and opening their doors. When they call for the tow truck, dispatch should be able to give them a driver name, badge number, or the license plate number of the tow truck. Your teen can use this information to verify that the person that stops to help is legitimate.
Keeping your teen safe behind the wheel requires forethought and planning. Contact a towing service for more information.