We all want our freshly-minted teen drivers to be safe, but what do teens need in their car?. Here are a few things to give you peace of mind. *Disclaimer: this post has affiliate links.
One day, you’re watching your baby ride around your yard in a battery-operated jeep; the next, you’re holding your breath as you watch them pull out of the driveway. By themselves.
There’s just no worry a parent has like a newly-licensed teenager on the road by themselves.
You worry about accidents. You worry about them getting lost. You worry about them using their cell phones or their car breaking down or other distracted drivers.
And with good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the number one cause of injury among our teenagers.
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There are definitely some positives about having another driver in the house. No more waiting in pick-up lines that wrap around the school or having to jump in the car every time you receive a text that says, “ready.” And it’s great to have someone to be able to go get those eggs you forgot or pick up a younger sibling.
But we all know that driving is a huge responsibility, and any time we have to let our kids fly out into the world, it comes with some added worry and anxiety. When it’s your teen’s first car, you want to make sure it has everything you need in it to keep them as safe as possible.
Eleven Things Every Teen Driver Should Have in Their Car
While we can’t do everything for our teens, we can make sure they are as safe as possible. Every teen driver should have the following items in their car at all times.
- Portable Car Battery Charger. We can’t tell you how useful this portable battery has been for our family. Our daughter used it the first week she had her license when she left her lights on at a friend’s house, a family we were vacationing used it when their boat battery died, and my husband was able to charge his laptop with it for an important work meeting when the power went out. We love them so much we gave them as graduation gifts last year! It is much easier than traditional jumper cables where you need another car for power, and multi-functional. This is a must-have and we keep one in every car.
2. Glove Box Compartment Organizer. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable. There will be a time your teen will have to provide their driver’s license, insurance, and registration information, and you don’t want them to be panicking or freaking out because they can’t find it. We love this handy organizer that keeps everything in one place, such as the owner manual, receipts for auto repairs/maintenance, insurance, registration, and more. We like this one because it features five interior pockets, eight credit or business card pockets, one vinyl clear pocket for ID or roadside assistance card, an exterior quick-access pocket, and an interior and exterior holder for a pen or tire gauge. Bonus, it fits nicely in the glove compartment so you can stow it and forget it.
3. First Aid Kit. This is a great kit to have on hand, especially if your teen is driving themselves to sporting events, concerts, and other activities. Our teens have been thankful that they had emergency kits with bandaids and gauze for blisters and small cuts, a backup flashlight for finding keys dropped in the dark, and gloves when dealing with some gross animal issues (don’t ask!) We like this kit by Monoki, but you can make one of your own simply by using a plastic container and filling it with essentials. We suggest taking stock at least every six months (use the time changes as your reminders!)
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4. Tire Gauge. Most of our teen drivers are operating used vehicles, so understanding tire pressure is important, especially when you start letting them take longer trips. It’s also important for them to understand how to check the tires when that pesky tire pressure light comes on at the least opportune times. You can get a gauge for anywhere from $5 to $50, but we like this easy-to-read digital version.
5. Cell Phone Mount. No parents want their teen distracted by their cell phones, but most of us do use our mobile devices for navigation. Set your teens up for responsible and safe cell phone usage with a hands-free mount. We like this one that adheres to the windshield or an air vent, and also serves as a wireless phone charger.
6. Flat shoes. Teenagers are not known for their appropriate footwear. Encourage your son or daughter to leave an old pair of comfortable sneakers (or boots in the winter) in their trunk in the instance they need to walk because of an accident or automobile breakdown. The only thing worse than your car breaking down is getting blisters when you’re trying to get wherever you need to on foot.
7. Tire Repair Kit. Although you should teach your son and daughter how to change a tire (including where the spare tire is located), a better option may be a tire repair kit that can help them get to safety and a professional that can ensure it’s done right. A tire repair kit is handy for so many situations. We like the Slime kit because of its simplicity and how quickly it can get your teen up and running.
8. Emergency rations. We don’t have to be apocalyptic, but there are times your teenager could get stuck on the side of the road for a bit before someone can pick them up. It’s good to keep a blanket, some energy bars, a good flashlight, gloves and a hat if you live in a cold weather zone, and an extra bottle of water stored in a container just in case.
9. Winter weather apparel: Do you have a teen that likes to wear only shorts and a hoodie (and maybe a pair of slides) to school in the middle of the blizzard. Make sure that there are a good pair of water-resistant gloves, a warm coat and/or blanket, and a hat. You never know when you may have to sit in the car waiting for a repair truck, or worse, walk a few miles to safety.
10. Air Freshener: OK, let’s be honest here. Teens aren’t known for their cleanliness. We love these environmentally friendly air fresheners that smell good and won’t hurt their lungs.
11. Ice scraper if you live in cold weather, this is a must. Teach your teens not to drive with snow on top of their car since it can be a hazzard to other drivers, so if you get an ice scraper, get one like this that has a brush and a scraper attached.
There will be ups and downs with your teen drivers, but ensuring they are prepared is a great way to make them feel more confident and give yourself a little peace of mind.
You may also like this New Teen Driver contract available in our store.
Parenting Teens can be kinda tricky. Need a little more help?
***Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links where we earn income for products we highlight. We only recommend products that we love.