10 Timely Safety Tips for Parents with Teens on the Road for Schoolies Week

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As Year 12 exams wrap up this week in many states, thousands of Australian teens are preparing to hit the roads for Schoolies Week celebrations. For concerned parents, The Buzz Insurance, has prepared 10 top tips to discuss and plan with their teens so they’re better prepared to get to their destinations safely.

“It’s exciting for teens, but for parents it's worrying as their children get behind the wheel with friends on unfamiliar roads and conditions,” The Buzz CEO, Leona Murphy said.

As Year 12 exams wrap up this week in many states, thousands of Australian teens are preparing to hit the roads for Schoolies Week celebrations.

For concerned parents, The Buzz Insurance, has prepared 10 top tips to discuss and plan with their teens so they’re better prepared to get to their destinations safely.

The Buzz Insurance, CEO, Leona Murphy said for many teens embarking on a Schoolies Week, the road trip will be the longest distance they have driven in a car.

“It’s exciting for teens, but for parents it's worrying as their children get behind the wheel with friends on unfamiliar roads and conditions,” Ms Murphy said.

The tips have been developed in conjunction with the Buzz ‘Parents with Ps’ community safety initiative and now is the ideal time for parents to talk with their teens about their plans.

Parents can start by talking to their teen and prepare an agreement which outlines the conditions of them going on the road trip and the consequences of not following the rules. This may include restricting night time driving, keeping to speed limits, the number of passengers and no alcohol or mobile phone while driving. A copy of The Buzz Parent-Teen agreement is available at http://www.thebuzzinsurance.com.au.

Charting a safe route the key to a safe journey. Avoid deserted roads (even if they’re shorter), mark petrol pumps, rest areas and other service locations.

An early start is better than night driving. If the drive is on rural roads, avoid driving around dusk and dawn when visibility is hampered and when there’s wildlife on the roads. To reduce fatigue, encourage the use of the cruise control (if fitted) and take plenty of short breaks.

Parents can also play an important part in the selection of the right car for their teen. The old family car may not be their best companion on a long drive. Modern cars have safety features that may prevent an accident (such as ABS or ESC) and offer added crash protection.

Cars shouldn't be overloaded - it affects performance. Parents can encourage teens to travel with a small group only. If all seats are occupied, or the car is heavily loaded than spread the load out. Put heavier items as far forward in the boot as possible. If it's a hatchback or station wagon, luggage should be properly secured. Teens must be made aware that braking distances increase when the car is loaded.

Prepping the vehicle is also very important, with the car serviced and oil levels checked. Fill up the fuel tank, check the wear of the tyres and the air pressure. Top up the coolant, battery and windscreen washer.

Run through basic car maintenance like how to change a tyre, what to do if engine overheats etc. Make sure there is a properly inflated spare tyre, tool kit and extra water in the car.

Carrying a duplicate key may come in handy. If the car has an immobiliser, a duplicate key may be expensive but potentially cheaper than sending a spare key interstate.

Make a list of emergency contacts like roadside assist, the insurance company, family and friends, as In case of Emergency (ICE) numbers in their mobile phone.

During the Schoolies Week, teens should be encouraged to use cabs or public transport. If they have to drive to a location, they must decide to have a designated driver who isn’t going to drink (this can also be part of your Buzz Parent - Teen Agreement).

Parents of teen drivers can find more useful tips, tools and resources on Parents with P’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/buzzparentswithps

For more information please contact exchange(at)thebuzzinsurance(dot)com(dot)au

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Neha Sharma
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