The better weather generally allows for longer drives and more experience with highway driving, which is very important for young drivers to practice in both the day and the night in wet and dry weather conditions.
Something that tends to be overlooked throughout the lengthy Learner Driver period is for our newest drivers to be taught some car care and safety check fundamentals prior to taking to the road on their own.
Even though modern cars from the lowest cost economy models upwards are equipped with reliable engine and electronic system monitoring when there are potential issues, this should not detract from teaching our newest drivers the car care basics. This ensures that they have the ability to check and deal with relatively minor mechanical issues if necessary.
Things like regularly checking water, oil, tyre pressures (and how to refer to the optimum manufacturer specified levels) along with the correct function of all vehicle lighting. More importantly, the ability to remove and replace a flat tyre - or to refill a tyre in the case of there being no factory spare, is also a relatively easy skill that is totally neglected these days.
Sadly many of our younger drivers these days have no idea if their car even has a spare tyre! People all too often say “How long has it been since you had a flat tyre?” but even if it has been years, none of us want to see a young driver stranded due to an issue which can be so easily fixed without the need for outside assistance.
Even with roadside emergency services now being abundantly available for new and for older cars, having some background knowledge in relation to how a car operates, along with some fundamentals of the easier automotive maintenance items is never a bad thing for young drivers.
Basic knowledge like this reduces panic during times of mechanical or electronic failures, enabling our newest drivers to have more of an understanding of the issues that can bring these computers on wheels to an abrupt stop.
In the case of older cars, things like checking battery terminals are clean and tight, air filters clean and air hoses tightly attached without cracks or other wear damage, ensuring the vehicle jack and wheel spanners are in the boot and all are in working order. Checking fuses should an electrical problem take place – and a major doosie for young drivers with older cars is to ensure that the spare tyre in the boot is actually full of air! This is something that is discovered far too often when it is needed the most!
Tyre pressure maintenance is important for brake and steering response and it even reduces fuel consumption and tyre wear. Teaching your child to read the tyre pressure sticker located on the inside door panel (or inside the fuel cover) to identify the optimum air pressure for the front and rear tyres and to learn how to easily do this at service stations is more than worthwhile.
Teaching new drivers that waiting too long to refuel not only runs the risk of running out, but this practice can also cause fuel filters to become blocked with all the gunk and particles that inevitably accumulate at the bottom of a fuel tank. If they are driving a diesel engined car, teaching them to use the same Diesel pump at the same fuel station during their first months of driving to avoid putting in the wrong fuel is also a good tip - many new drivers have expensively become unstuck by placing the wrong fuel into a car.
Ensuring that all vehicle windows, headlights and tail lights are clean and operating correctly is also easy and important to do. Taking a look underneath the car to ensure that all is in place and there are no oil or water leaks is important, while topping up oil and water is also a very simple process.
Happy driver training and here’s to a safe Summer holiday period on our roads, made safer by patient young driver training with some car care basics thrown in.