Whether you’re a new teen driver or a parent who is teaching your teen to drive, you know that road safety is an absolute must. No one wants to risk hurting themselves or others if they can help it. And a big part of road safety is preparing for and knowing how to manage common emergencies when they occur. The more proactive the driver is in this matter, the better. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some basic safety tips for new California teen drivers. We’ll also provide easy checklists and resources for some of most common roadside safety issues like how to jump-start a car, how to change a flat tire, and what to do if your vehicle overheats. Let’s dive in.

The 8 Danger Zones for New Teen Drivers 

When a teen driver gets out on the road, knowledge is power. According to the CDC, there are 8 “danger zones” that cause of the majority of car accidents, injury, and even death for new teen drivers. Fortunately, the risks associated with almost all of these dangers can be reduced by taking basic proactive safety precautions, such as wearing seat belts, not texting or talking on the phone while driving, and not driving while impaired.

Here are the 8 Biggest Risks (Danger Zones) for New Teen Drivers:

1. Driver Inexperience.

2. Driving with other teen passengers.

3. Nighttime driving.

4. Not using seatbelts.

5. Distracted driving.

6. Drowsy driving.

7. Reckless driving.

8. Impaired driving.

3 Common Roadside Emergencies New Teen Drivers Should Know About

Now that you’re aware of the 8 most common dangers for new teen drivers, it’s important to know how to handle a roadside emergency. Here are some of the most common vehicle emergencies and what to do when they happen. Why not print this out and stick it in the glove compartment so you or your teen will always know what to do? After all, the roadside emergency might occur in a place with no cell service.

How To Jumpstart A Car 

In the event of a car that won’t start, try to jump-start the vehicle by following these steps.

First, you need to make sure that the vehicle is in park and that the emergency brake is engaged. Then, locate the battery. It should be in a box near the front of the car. Open up the cover and identify the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals.

Next, find another vehicle with a working battery. This vehicle should be in park as well. Open up the hood and locate the battery. Again, you’ll see the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals.

Now it’s time to connect the cables. The red cable goes to the positive (+) terminal on both batteries, and the black cable goes to the negative (-) terminal on both batteries.

Make sure the cables are tightly connected, then start the engine of the vehicle with the good battery. Once the active car has started, attempt to start the vehicle with the stalled engine. If the vehicle doesn’t start, wait a few minutes and try again. If it still doesn’t start, it may need a full battery replacement.

Here’s a handy checklist for the steps to jump-start a car:

1. Make sure the vehicle is parked in a safe location with the emergency brake engaged.

2. Open the hood.

3. Locate the battery.

4. Find your jumper cables and connect the red, positive jumper cable to the positive terminal on the battery. Connect the black, negative jumper cable to the negative terminal.

5. Locate someone who is willing to help and has another vehicle with a good battery. Hook their battery up to yours using the jumper cables.

6. Start the working engine first and then start yours.

How To Change A Flat Tire 

If changing a flat tire sounds a little scary, just remember that the process is relatively simple.

First, make sure that you equipped the vehicle with the necessary supplies. You’ll need a spare tire, lug wrench, and jack. Don’t forget to ensure that the teen driver knows where these things are and how to access them. The spare tire is usually in the trunk or cargo area of the vehicle and the tools should be located nearby.

To change a flat tire, loosen the lug nuts with a lug wrench and lift the vehicle using the jack. Then, remove the lug nuts, take the flat tire off, and replace it with the spare tire. Finally, put the lug nuts back on and tighten them with the lug wrench. After this, it’s just a matter of lowering the vehicle back down to the ground.

Here’s a checklist for how to change a flat tire:

1. Park on a safe, flat surface and engage the emergency brake. Turn on your hazard lights if needed.

2. Remove the hubcap and use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts of the flat tire, but don’t take them entirely off.

3. Using the jack, slowly and safely raise the vehicle.

4. Once the vehicle is safely suspended, fully remove the lug nuts and take the flat tire off.

5. Replace the flat tire with the spare, and put the lug nuts back on.

6. Tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench.

7. Lower the vehicle back down to the ground by unscrewing the jack handle from the jack.

8. Tighten the lug nuts once more and replace the hubcap.

9. Put away your tools and drive to a nearby service as soon as possible.

How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire

Spare tires are meant for temporary use only. You should drive to the nearest service station as soon as possible and have the spare tire replaced. According to AAA, you shouldn’t drive over 50 miles per hour or further than 50 miles on the spare tire.

What To Do if Your Car Is Overheating 

If a vehicle’s temperature gauge is in the red or there’s smoke wafting from the hood, you might be asking: why is my car overheating?

Some common reasons for overheated vehicles are a lack of coolant, a clogged radiator, too little oil, or a broken fan belt. To avoid two of these problems, routinely check coolant and oil levels, and never let either get too low. Stow an extra bottle of them in your vehicle in case it overheats and you need to increase their levels.

If your vehicle overheats, pull over to the side of the road as soon as possible and turn off the engine. Check for the issues described above and address them. Then, wait until the car has cooled down before trying to start it again. If it doesn’t start, get it towed for service. New teen driver safety is incredibly important. Expecting and preparing for roadside emergencies will help prevent the most common ones. We hope these tips will help. For even more resources on safe teen driving habits, read this safe driver checklist from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.