With the high school graduation festivities behind us, many of us are watching our teens take that next step towards adulthood: Leaving home to attend college. Proper vehicle maintenance and being safe away from home carries with it a whole new set of responsibilities. If your teen has the privilege of bringing a car with them to college, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind.
Know your insurance policy. Familiarize your teen driver with their insurance policy and have your insurance card readily available. Most insurance cards have an emergency or roadside service number on the back to contact if you are stranded, in an accident, or need help. Review the insurance coverage with your college driver.
Avoid being a taxi for friends. Having your own vehicle on campus can be a blessing and a curse. You have the freedom and flexibility to go to the grocery store and out to eat whenever you want. However, you will also endure endless requests for rides. Your college student should set boundaries on chauffeuring other students off campus for errands. Make sure and let your teen know to NEVER lend out his or her vehicle to others. Some insurance companies will not cover your vehicle in the event of an accident if driven by someone who is not on the policy. Advice for the college driver: Do not drive distracted and make sure all occupants are wearing their seatbelts.
Remember to properly maintain the vehicle. Remember to discuss the importance of proper vehicle maintenance with your college student- not only to protect your investment, but to avoid breakdowns. Explain all of the warning lights that could appear on the dashboard, and the importance of taking the car into a reputable auto body shop if any of these lights come on. Review the owner’s manual with your college driver.
Do not let your vehicle sit idle. Advise your college student to make it a point to check on their vehicle every other day, drive it to keep the battery life healthy and protect it from vandalism.
Familiarize your teen with important vehicle information. Before your child leaves for college, do a walk-through of the entire vehicle and show them the ins and outs of the car. Make sure they know that the tire size, tire pressure settings, and other key information is on the inside driver side door panel and most likely on the gas cap door on their car.
Avoid speeding. Getting pulled over for speeding can come with some hefty fines and points on your license. Explain to your teen driver speeding does not take a significant amount of time from your trip and is not worth the risk.
Confirm your teen’s license, license plate and tags are all current. Before your teen takes off for college, make sure the license plate, tags and driver’s license are all up to date, and will remain that way for the duration of the school year. Being hours away or even in a different state with an expired license or tag can result in an expensive ticket.
Keep valuables out of site. Lock all valuables safely in the trunk or take them with you to your dorm or apartment.
Always lock your vehicle’s doors. Locks are there for a reason, use them to protect yourself. Make an extra set of keys, so in the event you misplace them, you will still have access to your vehicle.
No Drinking and Driving. This should be a no-brainer by now, but college brings with it a whole new level of peer pressure. Continue to reinforce the fact that if they consume alcohol, even one drink, to NEVER get behind the wheel. Call a taxi or a sober friend to get them home safe.
Beware of road conditions. If college is far from home, check that your child is comfortable with any unfamiliar driving conditions, such as snow, which is a rare occurrence in Florida.
Have an Emergency Roadside Kit. This makes for a great going away gift for your college student. Make sure and include emergency phone numbers in case there is no cell service or cellular information is unavailable.
Be Safe When You Are Driving Around Your College Campus
At the law firm of Michael T. Gibson, we want you to be safe when returning to college this year or if you are leaving home for the first time. A serious injury on a college campus can cause you to miss classes, work, and even forfeit an athletic or academic scholarship. The medical expenses that follow can be overwhelming. If you have suffered injury as a result of the college or university’s negligence, you have legal rights and may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and any losses you suffered. Time is of the essence when filing a claim. Certain state school campuses must be notified of the claim within six months of the accident for your legal rights to be preserved. It is important that you contact an experienced Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer immediately. Our experienced team of accident attorneys can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.