What new drivers need to know before heading out during summer months

Teen drivers cautioned to stay safe

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – We’re in the midst of summer vacation, which means more freedom for teenage drivers, who can break from the school-year routine and travel to places like the beach or an amusement park.

That freedom can mean an added need for parents to help their teenage drivers stay safe.

“Teen drivers are inexperienced, obviously, and they are not as tuned in what happens with the vehicle, so they tend to ignore some of the simple things like the 'check engine' light or tire pressure,” said Michael Cullen, field insurance manager for AAA. “As a parent, we should check those things for our kids.”

Before they head out, check basic but important things like warning lights, tire pressure, "check engine" lights and coolant levels, and make sure the oil is getting changed on  a regular basis.

If your child has his or her own car, giving it a once over every now and then is recommended. More experienced drivers know to look out for small things that teen drivers might overlook.

“But those are things that sound kind of simple but are often overlooked, and the kids at this age, they're not going to look at the tires,” Cullen said. "They’re not going to look to make sure the windshield is clean; they’re just going to make sure they have gas. They get in and they go.”

If your teenager is planning  a trip.

“make sure that you have a plan if you’re going to go drive to an area that maybe you’re not familiar (with),” Cullen said. “This is the time of year that they’re not driving the normal routes. They’re not going to school and back or to practice and back.”

When traveling, a cellphone can be a key resource. If something happens a cell phone can be step one to connecting with help. Make sure your teens have a charger on hand as well.