Most people will have a car break down at least once during their driving years. Car problems can be frustrating, scary and dangerous, especially if they happen on a busy highway and you’re forced onto the shoulder. Knowing what to do – and where to stand as you wait for help – is important. While teaching your teen to drive, remember to talk about these kinds of scenarios.
Here are some tips to give your teen driver so he or she is prepared if the car breaks down on the highway:
- Move the car to the right shoulder of the road and at least 10 feet off of the roadway
- Turn on the emergency flashers
- Do not get out on any of the doors on the driver’s side of the car. You risk being hit by smaller vehicles or, in some cases, being sucked under larger vehicles.
- Stand on the passenger’s side of the car as far off the highway as possible, and have passengers do the same. If a driver hits your car from behind, shards of glass, plastic and metal could be shot into the air. You need to be a safe distance away from your car.
- Do not stand behind or in front of the car. Many drugged or drunk drivers will fixate on other cars’ rear lights and follow them. This puts you at risk for being hit if you are standing behind or in front of the car.
- Sometimes you may need to raise the hood to check the engine. Once the hood is secured, move to the passenger side front fender to look at the engine.
Drivers who break down need to call for help. Remind teens to have this information on hand when calling:
- The name and number of the highway
- The direction in which they were driving
- The last mile marker sign they passed
- The last exit they passed
- The distance to the next exit
Everyone who is traveling should tell someone else about the trip including where they’re headed and when they’ll be arriving. Make sure you get this information from your teen whenever he or she leaves the house. That way, if an emergency does happen, you’ll be prepared to help, too.