Even after years of driving, hearing sirens and seeing flashing lights in your rearview mirror can make any driver’s heart race. When teens are driving alone, they need to know how to respond in these situations.
1. Make sure your teen stays aware
Remind your teen never to drive with earphones on or their music playing too loudly. They need to be able to hear emergency vehicles approach and also hear audio cues from other vehicles.
2. Does your teen know how to respond properly to an emergency vehicle?
On your next practice drive, ask teens these questions.
What should they do if they see emergency lights or hear a siren?
Do they know they should first stop to analyze if it’s safer to pull over or stay where they are?
If the emergency vehicle is behind or ahead, and the way is clear, do they know to pull over as far as they can to the right side of the road and come to a stop?
If they are in an intersection when the emergency vehicle approaches, do they know they should wait to see if the emergency vehicle needs to turn at the intersection? If the vehicle is not turning, do they know to continue through intersection and then pull over as soon as they can when it is safe to do so?
Do they know what to do if they can’t move over the right, if they are on the highway or on a divided roadway?
Make sure they know how to respond in these situations.
3. Does your teen know what to do if the police stop the car?
Make sure teens are prepared for any potential traffic stops.
Remind them never to panic and run. It may seem obvious, but teens might not make that choice.
Make sure they know to stay buckled and in the car. The officer will come to them.
Teens should know where the registration, insurance and license are at all times.
Drivers should remain calm and polite, even if they get a ticket.
4. What to do if your teen gets a ticket
Make sure your teen knows to tell you about the ticket; you can set consequences and financial responsibility with your teen as part of your New Driver Deal. Be calm and instead of punishing them, take it as an indication that they weren’t as ready to drive on their own as you, or they, thought. Think of it like a bad grade on a test—you now know one more skill they need to practice.