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Tips for Parents of First Time Drivers

Today’s teenagers live in a new and fascinating world. Never before have people been so connected, never before have kids had as many opportunities as they do with all the new industries and fields being taught in schools. Despite all this, though, there’s one constant that never changes from generation to generation – that feeling of freedom that comes with a first car. As a parent, however, there probably isn’t anything scarier. If you’re a parent of a first time driver or soon-to-be driver, here’s some tips about cars and driving for your youngest motorist.


  1. Sedans are safe


You’ve probably heard at some point that SUVs, especially big body-on-frame truck based SUVs like the Toyota 4Runner or Chevrolet Tahoe are the safest vehicles you can buy. That is a myth. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, is the company that tests vehicles and provides them with the crash-test safety ratings that all manufacturers love to brag about in their commercials. What they don’t mention, however, is that trucks and truck based vehicles aren’t held to as high of a standard as cars. In other words, a five-star rating for a Ford F-150 or a Ford Expedition isn’t necessarily as safe as a five-star rating for a car like a Ford Focus.


This doesn’t mean SUVs aren’t safe. In fact, many SUVs are considered to be innovators in safety, but for now know that sedans are probably your best bet.


  1. Reliability over Flashy


Sure, everybody wants something cool as their first car, but let’s not forget that most first cars usually get dings and fender-benders due to learning drivers. Consider something safe and established as reliable. The compact but sporty Honda Civic, the latest generation Ford Focus, and the well selling Toyota Camry are all highly touted as reliable, cheap to own, and safe.


  1. Know the Laws on Teen Licensing


In North Carolina, there are three tiers of driver licences: Limited Provisional, Full Provisional, and Driver License. Adults over 18 have Driver Licences, which provide all the luxuries of having a license, but teens have either a Limited or Full Provisional. Limited Provisional licenses only allow teens to drive between 5AM-9PM unless they’re directly leaving/going to school or work. Full Provisional licenses allow driving after 9PM, but like the Limited Provisional, they don’t allow phone use of any kind in the vehicle. While it is legal for adults to make phone calls in a car, it is not for teens with Limited or Full Provisionals. Texting and driving, however, is illegal for everyone. For the full list of rules, visit NCDOT.gov.


  1. Consider Full Coverage


Insuring teens is expensive. Youth/inexperience is the biggest factor in price, but things like age of the car, engine size and even gender can affect cost (males tend to have higher insurance rates.) Despite all this, teens don’t always have accidents with others, sometimes accidents happen with inanimate objects like trees. Liability coverage won’t get that repaired. If getting replacement vehicles for teens isn’t an option, consider full coverage so in the event of an accident, their vehicle can be repaired.


  1. Help them get experience


Driving in heavy rain, snow, fog and the like is no fun, but it is a reality we all face from time to time. Help your teen out by going with them and showing them how to drive in these situations. Eventually, they will experience a situation where they have to drive in these conditions, so be proactive and make sure they know what to do.


  1. Instill good maintenance habits


Teens who never drive don’t know the first thing about maintaining cars. Show them! Stress the importance of all the things you likely value, such as regular oil changes, getting state inspections done on time, and the like.


Have any other questions about teen driving? Feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, visit our website at manchesterautoandtire.com, or email us at kenmanchester1@gmail.com

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Is My Car Safe for a Rainy Day?

Did you know it rains about 70 days a year in Charlotte? That’s almost 20% of the year! With that much rain, you’re likely to have to drive around in the rain every now and again. Driving in rain, however, is not like driving on a sunny day. Is your car prepared to face a rainy day? Here are some important factors to think about before driving in the rain:


  • Tire Tread Depth

Tire Tread Depth is important on any day, but it plays an even more important role when the roads are wet. The gaps between your tire and the road that your tire tread creates is what prevents you from losing control and hydroplaning. This is why most states consider tires that are below 2/32″ in tread depth illegal.

  • Windshield Wipers

This one may seem a bit obvious, but Windshield Wipers are one of those things that you really don’t think about unless you try and use them. Wipers usually should be replaced every six months, but that can vary by quality and usage. If you’d like to read more about Windshield Wipers, we have an article about them here.

  • Headlights

In North Carolina, it is law to turn on your Headlights when your Windshield Wipers are in use. This law is in place not so much so you can see in the rain, but so others can see you. If you have headlight/taillight/daytime runner out, you may be harder to see and possibly more likely to be hit. If you’d like to read more about Headlights, we have an article about them here.

  • How You’re Driving

When driving in the rain, you should allow for more following distance  (this is the distance between you and the car in front of you) and slow down. This allows you more time to stop should something in front of you happen. A lot of your vehicles automation devices – cruise control for example – may not work as well during the rain.

No matter if it is rainy, sunny, sleeting or snowing, be sure to enjoy the ride and stay safe!