Discuss Tow Truck Plans With New Teen Drivers

Put Tow Truck Phone Number in Your Teen’s Cell

If you have a new teen driver in your home, I’m sure you’ve discussed wearing the seatbelt, not driving with too many people in the car, being home by curfew, keeping the car filled with gas, looking in all directions when at a four-way stop, etc. But I’ll bet discussing a tow truck is the farthest thing from your mind. But it shouldn’t be.

Research shows that 73% of young drivers experienced a breakdown last year. Perhaps this is because newer drivers tend to drive older cars. Or perhaps because teen drivers haven’t developed the skills necessary to avoid accidents or mishaps. And this is why you should develop a plan with your teen driver BEFORE they have an accident, run out of gas, end up in a snow bank, or even encounter a dead battery at the Mall of America, or your local mall.

The last thing you want your teen to do is called their boyfriend of BFF when they encounter a car problem. But they may think they’ll be in trouble with you if you don’t discuss what to do ahead of time.  Here’s what we told our teen when he got his license:

The chances of you needing roadside assistance at some point are pretty high. Every driver does. In fact, 95% of drivers break down at least once in their lives.

Your Dad and I have both broken down in our lives. Your Dad had a flat tire when he was on I-94. That was scary because it blew out while he was driving. But he steered to the shoulder and called a tow truck.  Mine was scary too. I hit a patch of ice, did a 360 and ended up sliding into a guardrail. I needed a tow truck too.

That’s why your Dad and I have Smitty Big Tow’s phone number in our cell phone. And we want you to put Smitty’s number in your phone as well. It’s 651-955-6475. I’d put it under “Tow Truck” instead of “Smitty” in case you don’t remember the tow truck company name.

That should be your first call if:

  • You have a dead battery
  • You run out of gas
  • You have a flat tire
  • You lock your keys in the car
  • You end up in a ditch or snow bank

If you have an accident, you should first call us. We won’t be mad. If your car isn’t driveable, after you call us, we want you to call Smitty and tell him to drive your car to Tuan Auto Shop. While Smitty is on his way, here’s what you’ll do next:

Write down

  • Driver and passenger names of all cars involved
  • License plate numbers of all cars involved
  • Makes and models of all vehicles involved
  • Location of the accident
  • The name and badge number of any responding police officers

You also need to exchange insurance info with all drivers. They’ll give you their insurance company, phone number and policy number. You will give them the same information off of your insurance card. That’s why we always remind you to keep a copy of your insurance card in your wallet and in the glove box.

Be sure whenever you’re outside of the car that you stay on the side of the car where there are no cars passing.

My husband I felt that by discussing these scenarios ahead of time it would demystify the process for our son while not minimizing the worst case scenario.

However you choose to discuss with your teen driver what to do when things go wrong in a car — and they will — we just hope you will have the discussion.