The statistics are NOT on your side. 73% of young drivers experienced a breakdown last year. And 95% of all drivers break down at least once in their life.
If this is the first winter your teen driver will be driving, you definitely need to talk with them about what to do if they end up in a snow bank, have a flat tire, the car breaks down, or if they lock their keys in the car.
And the time to have this talk is BEFORE it happens. After all you don't want your 16 year old daughter calling her boyfriend to rescue her from the side of I-35W as cars goes whizzing by. That's not safe for either one of them. But if your daughter thinks she'll get in trouble for breaking down, that's exactly who her first call will be to.
Same goes for when your son gets rear-ended on 494. We know, because we've been eventually called to the scene to help a customer's teen and found his best friend (who was not in the car at the time of the fender-bender) was already there.
Your teen driver needs to know ahead of time what you expect them to do. Just like you've told them to wear their seat belt and not text and drive, tell them to put our number -- 651-955-6475 -- in their phone. Explain to them that pretty much everyone breaks down at some point in their life and it's young drivers most often.
Walk through the various scenarios with them. If they're at the Mall of America and discover they've locked their keys in the car, tell them NOT to stand by the car while they wait for help. It's safer to wait inside. Take note of the parking area they have parked in, then go back inside and wait for us to call them when we arrive. THEN they can come out to the car.
If they are broken down on the side of a highway, instruct them to stay inside the car for both warmth AND safety. Lock the doors and wait until we arrive. Do NOT accept assistance from another tow truck who "just happened to be driving by." These are called "tow truck bandits" and they are scammers.
Speaking of staying warm and safe inside the car -- have you put a winter safety kit in your teen's car? If not, here's what we recommend you have in every car during a Minnesota winter:
You may want to consider also including a pair of boots, gloves and wool socks, but at the very least be sure you have these three items in every vehicle you and your family members will drive this winter. Minnesota winters are nothing to gamble with!