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Prepare Your New Driver With Expert Guidance

Prepare Your New Driver With Expert Guidance

From teenagers begging to drive themselves to high school to young adults heading off to college, the end of summer brings a wave of new drivers on the road. While learning to drive represents independence and transitioning into adulthood, the responsibility and chance for catastrophe is possibly overwhelming. In 2021, there were 2,608 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver in the United States. That same year, there were also 12,330 speeding-related deaths, which doesn’t include accidental deaths due to drunk driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving or not wearing a seatbelt. 

Driving Tips for Beginnerscar keys and remote

Fortunately, The NAPA Network is here to offer driving tips for beginners, as well as aftermarket automotive products to keep your student focused on the road and prepared to handle a roadside emergency. At the top of our list of safe driving tips: Regulate access to a new driver’s vehicle. Night driving and stormy dark conditions are especially dangerous for a teen driver with limited experience. Check the laws in your state that might limit the time of day a young driver is allowed behind the wheel. Teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes also increase on the weekend, so set guidelines for using the car on Friday and Saturday, even for school activities and sports events.

Also at the top of our list of tips for new drivers: Purchase a safe, reliable vehicle that is worth the investment. The used car market is a great source for vehicles five to ten years old with just more than 100,000 miles. With the proper care and routine maintenance, a modern high-mileage vehicle is designed to perform at optimal capacity. And these 2010–2020 used models offer advanced airbags, backup cameras, Bluetooth connection with GPS, tire-pressure monitoring and even blind spot sensors. 

The NAPA experts recommend putting your beginner driver in a Volkswagen Jetta, Nissan Maxima, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry. Before making a purchase, take a used vehicle to a local NAPA Auto Care center for a complete inspection by one of our ASE-certified technicians. Best of all, even if your new driver is away from home on Spring Break or at college when a warning light on the dash illuminates, you can rely on the same quality service across our 17,000+ NAPA Auto Care centers nationwide, most of which are part of NAPA’s 24-Month/24,000-Mile Peace of Mind Warranty.

Expert Guidance From The NAPA Network

  • Don’t Run On Fumes! If you aren’t driving a fully electric vehicle, then chances are your modern combustion engine (even in a hybrid vehicle) is operated by an electric fuel pump. If your gas tank drops below the quarter mark, you run the risk of your fuel pump not properly cooling. And, by never letting your gas tank drop to less than a quarter full, you are at less risk of getting stranded before reaching a service station.
  • Stay Calm Under Pressure. It is critical to teach a new driver how to check tire pressure using a tire pressure gauge and referring to the target psi listed on a sticker in the interior door frame or manufacturer’s manual. Your new driver must also know how to use either a personal air pump tire inflator or an industrial machine at a nearby gas station to properly inflate any low tires. 
  • Embrace Change. An emergency on the side of a busy highway is no place to learn how to change a flat tire for the first time. Your lesson on how to change a tire starts with how to safely pull off the road. Next, you will want to demonstrate where to locate the spare tire, as well as needed tire changing tools like a metal lug wrench and an automotive scissor jack. Then, you will want to demonstrate how to position the jack at specific points (typically a pinch weld on the body frame). Finally, you will want to practice loosening and tightening the lug nuts or bolts. 
  • Get Enough Fluids. Every new driver should learn how to check the level of motor oil, transmission fluid and radiator coolant (also called antifreeze). This means not only locating under the hood where each fluid is stored, but also determining if dirty engine oil needs replaced, which needs done every three months or 6,000 miles. Know that your combustion system operates under extremely hot pressure, so never remove the cap to the coolant tank until the engine cools down. For more NAPA expertise, review how to top off washer fluid

Defensive Driving = Always Be Prepared

The best parking tips for new drivers are practice, practice, practice. And what better place to practice parking, let alone driving and maneuvering, than a large, nearly empty parking lot? Utilize the clear crosswalks to train a new driver on coming to a complete stop and backing up the vehicle. Use the expansive space to practice getting up to speed and hard braking to avoid a collision (including the jittering feel of antilock brakes). 

Consider having a driving lesson in an empty lot right after it rains to get a feel for slick pavement, hydroplaning and losing traction when cornering a turn. The more they know, the better they can Get Up & Go. While in a parking lot, take a pit stop to go over the controls inside the vehicle, everything from electric buttons and dials to manual seat adjusters and side mirror toggles. Additionally, check that the vehicle’s registration and insurance paperwork is up to date, and go over what to do if your new driver is pulled over by police or involved in an accident.

The NAPA experts also recommend honesty about how a split second can change a person’s life forever. In 2021, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,522 in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Teenage drivers should never eat, text or engage with electronic displays while moving. When possible, use a hands-free device to make phone calls or engage with GPS navigation. From aftermarket automotive Bluetooth stereos that connect to mobile phones to wireless backup camera systems, sells exactly what your new driver needs. Check out our Free One-Day Shipping on more than 160,000 items!

Of course, the most important tip for a new driver is to always keep an emergency kit in the vehicle, including flares, a flashlight, jumper cables, a multi-tool, reflective vest, blanket, medical supplies and more. The NAPA experts also suggest carrying a can of Fix-a-Flat (tire sealant for a quick “gotta-get-out-of-here” repair). And, nothing is a greater gift to a new driver than a AAA Membership, which also earns that lucky driver 10% off at participating NAPA stores.

Featured image courtesy of pxhere.

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