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Advice for New Teen Drivers & Parents in National City
Car Buying Tips

icon/user/avatar/20 Created with Sketch. By Travis Triggs

Your teen getting their driver's license is an exciting milestone, but it understandably comes with a lot of anxiety and stress for parents. National City's busy streets and freeways can be intimidating places to start driving. At Dream Machine in National City, we want to help prepare both new drivers and parents for this new chapter in their lives. Here is our local advice for navigating this transition smoothly and safely.


For Teen Drivers

Get sufficient supervised practice: After meeting state requirements for supervised hours, don't stop there. The more hours you can safely drive with a parent in different conditions, the better prepared you'll be. Know the "Hazards of Driving" covered on the license exam.


Focus on defensive driving: Look out for others on the road being reckless or distracted and give them space. Avoid distractions yourself and bad habits like speeding or tailgating. Patience and caution will keep you safe.


Know National City's tricky spots: Be extra alert in school zones and around parks/playgrounds for kids. Watch for jaywalkers downtown near retail plazas. The 5/54 interchange gets congested during rush hour so give yourself extra time.


Get roadside assistance: Join auto club or use a phone app so help is there if you get a flat, run out of gas, etc. Better than being stranded! Familiarize yourself with the car's hazard lights, spare tire, and other emergency essentials.


Be a hands-free driver: Program your GPS before driving. Pull over safely to text, change music, eat/drink, etc. to avoid the temptation to do those while driving. California restricts new drivers from any phone use.


For Parents

Start conversations early: Long before they reach driving age, start teaching safe behavior in and around vehicles. Instill defensive thinking, patience, and responsibility. Discuss dangers of alcohol, distractions, fatigue, weather, etc.


Set family driving rules: Establish and enforce your expectations such as seat belt use, speed limits, passenger restrictions, times/places they cannot drive, consequences for violations. Be firm but also show trust in their maturity.


Get the right vehicle: Look for safety features like side air bags, traction control, forward collision warning. Avoid powerful sports cars. Large vehicles give more protection but can be harder to handle. Start with an older used car and upgrade later.

Use technology judiciously: Apps can track driving habits if you're concerned about speeding or unauthorized stops.


However, constant surveillance can undermine trust. Focus more on building open communication with your teen.

Lead by example: If you text, speed, drive distracted or recklessly, your teen will see that as normal behavior. Be mindful that you are their primary role model. Exhibit safe habits and patience.


Gradually build independence: Let them earn more freedoms over time as they demonstrate responsibility and skill. Increase access to the car incrementally, eventually working towards solo trips once fully licensed.


Getting comfortable behind the wheel takes time. With preparation, thoughtful guidance and open communication, teens can safely operate a vehicle. Dream Machine is here to help with any car needs during this transition. Visit us in National City when your new driver is ready for the freedom of their own set of wheels!

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