Your child's driver's education class focuses on the rules of the road and being an attentive driver. But driving lessons often miss the mark when it comes to teaching basic car care information. Michelin North America, Inc. helped fund a study to determine what driving students are learning -- and not learning -- that could put them at risk for auto accidents.
“We found that teens are involved in 300,000 accidents a year that are tire-related, and that they’re involved in tire-related accidents at a higher level than adult drivers,” said Scott Clark, chief operating officer of Michelin North America’s Passenger Car And Light Truck Division, in a recent Modern Tire Dealer article.
A vehicle can operate without a radio, door or even a roof. But every type of motorized automobile must have tires to smoothly transport you from one place to the next. While these critical components of a car can easily be overlooked, they're often the source for auto crashes.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study highlighted in a Consumer Reports article explains that tires underinflated by more than 25 percent are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than tires properly inflated for the road and weather conditions. Tires underinflated by up to 25 percent can also cause car problems. The tires may become overheated, have a shorter tread life and not handle as smoothly.
Many new vehicle models implement a tire pressure warning light to alert drivers to over or under inflated tires. Teach your teen to recognize this symbol on the car’s dashboard and where local pressurized air stations can be found in your community. These are often paired with gas stations and car washes.
The study also concluded that car crashes were more likely as tire tread wears and diminishes. Twenty-six percent of auto crashes analyzed in the study involved vehicles with worn out tread measuring 0" - 2/32" depth.
During your next practice driving session with your teenager, spend extra time discussing car maintenance and troubleshooting. If you're not confident about basic car care, find a relative or local mechanic to explain these topics to your teen:
In addition to tire topics, this is a great time to also review and explain:
Before you send your child out on the road on his own, be sure an emergency roadside kit is safely tucked in the car. You can purchase pre-made kits from auto dealers, superstores and from larger car care centers. If you want to craft your own tote of safety supplies, here's a few ideas of what to include:
Despite extra training, your teen will likely experience car trouble at some point while driving. Does your auto insurance coverage include roadside assistance and towing if your teen is behind the wheel? A Trusted Choice® independent agent can help you understand the details of having a teen driver in your household and how to make sure your coverage won't leave your son or daughter stranded on the side of the road.