First things first advise your child that they are behind the wheel and in control of a 3,500 lb (average weight of a mid size car) piece of metal! So they have an understanding that’s the average weight of their local high school football team — offense and defense combined.
Additionally they need to realize this is not like riding their bike and when they crashed they only scratched their knee…this is a whole new ballgame. Studies show time and again that the highest accident incidence rate occurs during the first year of driving. I only wish we had some kind of alert system/notice on cars of new drivers as they are the ones I am most concerned about while I am out driving.
Obviously, Start with a Car in Good Condition
It goes without saying that the car(s) they will be learning to drive in must be in great condition. Good brakes, headlights, brake lights, tires, windshield wipers, etc. need to be in good working order if they are expected to learn how to drive properly. I also recommend that they learn how to drive in a car with automatic transmission versus a manual shifting car.
Automatic or Manual Gears?
They will have enough challenges just learning how to drive without having to deal with a manual transmission car that only confuses things with changing gears and using the clutch. So with all of the above in place now is time to get them their learners permit to start the process.
You will first need to go by your local driver’s license office and pick up a drivers manual or of course you should be able to go on-line and download a version if that is easier. Again we have all the different states drivers manuals listed on our website teamnimmo.com so you might want to click here first.
I would suggest you first read it yourself and then have them read it a couple times in a room/area that does not have distractions. It’s also a good idea to have them highlight any areas that they might be confused about and have them go over it with you.
Thinking of Others
Jumping ahead of things I would like you and your kids to consider signing up to be an organ donor when they finally get their official drivers license. Whether they are involved in a fatal accident (certainly hope not!) or some other life treating situation well it is always good to help others who might be in need…just a thought!
Next have them read this blog a couple of times as well prior to going out with you for the first time so they know what to expect. What I have included in this blog hopefully will prepare them for most of the conditions they will experience out on the road.
Insurance…You Mean I Need Insurance?
There is an old saying that there are only two things for certain in life…death and taxes. Well there is a third thing and it’s called car insurance! It’s a state law that requires you and all drivers to carry automobile insurance which protects you and others in case of an accident.
I can assure you that without carrying car insurance there will be a heap of trouble waiting should you get pulled over by the police or are in an accident…your fault or not. So first things first in that you need to alert your car insurance company that you need to carry your child on your policy before hitting the streets.
Insurance Costs How Much?
Now for the first time many kids will find out what it feels like to have to pay a bill…depending on when their parents should hold them accountable. So children get used to this “bill” as it will stay with you as long as you continue to drive an automobile which is like the rest of your life. So now reality will hit everyone (kids & parents) when you learn the cost of insurance…it’s a lot! So many things will factor into your cost such as:
- Your age — But good news is it gets less as you get older
- Your grades in school — Good grades equal lower rates
- Number of tickets/accidents you have
- The kind of car your drive — More expensive equals higher rate
- Where you live and how much you drive
- Your sex and marital status — Yup it matters
- Your credit history
DUI & Insurance
One huge area that you need to be aware of is what happens if/when you get a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) which is better known as Drunk Driving! If this ever happens to you well to put it bluntly you are screwed period. This one single action on your part will change your life for years to come so there will be much more on this later!! So for insurance purposes you need to know what to do if you are in an accident…do two things first call the police and next call your parents!
The police will come and assess the situation and write up a report and issue a ticket(s) if needed. You will need this information when you talk to your insurance agent when it comes time to dealing with any damages to your (or their) car.
Also if the cars that are contained in the accident are drivable then move them safely off the road as not to cause any other accidents or impede traffic. I would also recommend that you take pictures with a camera/smart phone of all cars involved showing damages as they might come in handy for future insurance claims or for the courts if it should come to that.
One final thought in regards to which automobile insurance company you should look at well I would recommend GEICO as I have found them to have the most competitive rates, great customer service when you need them and lastly a great/informative website. I have been using them for years well before I even wrote this blog so if you want check them out at GEICO.com.
Always Carry Your License With You
First thing you must remember is to always carry your driver’s license with you at all times and additionally in most states you are required by law to carry an insurance card with you. So it’s a good idea to carry one card in your wallet/purse and the other (most insurance companies provide you two) in your glove compartment.
Don’t Forget Your Registration
Additionally you need to consider carrying your car registration papers as well as many states require you to have it within your car. When pulled over for a traffic offense, accident or even at a police check point you will most times be required to show at least your driver’s license but be prepared to show your car insurance/registration papers as well.
Along with insurance you have to keep your car license tag up to date so count on getting a bill/notice once a year to renew your tags which in many cases falls around your birthday…nice present huh? Also depending on where you live you might be required to have your car pass a vehicle safety/emissions inspection annually so check with your particular state for information on this as they vary.
Next you need to keep your car well maintained so it’s always in good running order and the best way I have found to do this is to use a good reputable oil service company in your local town. One company that has locations throughout the United States is Valvoline Instant Oil Change that does an incredible job of checking your entire car out while you have the car in for your oil change.
There are so many things that are needed to keep your car in good working condition which includes: tires (thread and pressure), fluids, brakes, belts, lights, battery, turn signals and wiper blades to name a few! By using a good oil service company (every 4–5K miles) they do a great job of checking the condition of all these areas and will correct where needed or will alert you to potential problems before they happen and advise you of where to go.
For not only your car but most importantly for your child’s car I would highly recommend that you sign up with AAA Auto Club. I have had this service for a number of years and though you don’t tend to need them very often well when you do need them they sure are great to have. For around $6.00 a month well it’s like having a guardian angel looking after you and your child should some of these things go wrong: having a dead battery, running out of gas, the dreaded flat tire or for towing service if/when your car should breakdown.
Not trying to be chauvinistic here but I would certainly get this service if I had a daughter who either lives with me or better yet is away at college as it gives everyone piece of mind. Go to aaa.com to learn how to get this service and you will also find they are much more than just a road service company! One more area that you want to think about is all the cool things that you should carry in your car should an emergency develop and most of these items are relatively inexpensive.