You let them get their license, and you’ve handed over the keys. But are they truly ready?

Sure, you set rules for when they drive, where they go, and who rides with them. You also taught them the dangers of distracted driving. But, have you taught them about the 3,000lb piece of machinery that they are now handling?

Driving responsibility doesn’t stop with passing the driver’s test, turning down the radio, adjusting the mirrors, and using the turn signals. Before they get behind the wheel, young drivers should know basic vehicle care, maintenance, and warning signs.

Wiper blades and washer fluids – if they can’t see where they are going, how will they get there safely? Get your young driver in the habit of checking their wiper blades and washer fluid levels. There are super easy fixes to help correct wiper blade problems. And be sure they also know how to refill washer fluid (where it goes and what product to use).

Lights – it’s important to always have clean headlights and working rear lights, brake lights, turn signals and reverse lights. These are the ways other drivers know what actions to expect from your teen’s vehicle. Show your teen how to check them regularly. Remind them of the importance of properly functioning lights. Teach them how to change them or how they can contact the dealership to have them changed by a technician.

Tire pressure, tread, and rotation – show your teen driver where the PSI rate is listed on the sticker of the driver’s door jam. Teach them how to check their tire pressure. Show them how to fill their tires with air or reach out to the dealership if they need more nitrogen. Be sure to explain that tire pressure can change with cooler and warmer weather, so it’s smarter to check more often. Show them, the quarter test, not the penny test to check tire tread. Explain the importance of tire rotations to help tires wear evenly. Share with them the notion that rotating and balancing tires should be done on a routine schedule that makes the most of their tire investment.

Check fluids and change the oil – have your young driver get in the habit of checking their oil levels, brake fluid, antifreeze, and transmission fluid. Explain what products go where and how to maintain the right levels as needed. Teach them how to change their oil, or how often to schedule an oil change on a regular basis.

A car battery can fail at any time, but there are usually warning signs. If new drivers know how they function and what the signs are for replacement, then they can be more proactive when a new battery is needed. A completely dead battery is a safety issue if they are stranded.

Knowing the dashboard warning lights can make a world of a difference for the safety of your young driver and their passengers. There are 15 common warning lights on your dashboard that hold significant meaning. Have your new driver review them with you!

And in case of a roadside emergency, give your teen a list of contacts to call, do a run-through of how to change a tire, gift them an emergency roadside kit.

It’s a lot to digest, but the responsibility of becoming a driver is worth the time invested in sharing the knowledge above. It’s another layer of protection to keeping your driver safe.

Want more tips for teaching your young driver the rules on and off of the road? Click here for more teen driver safety tips and here for the driving experiences your teen needs.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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