Members of the Girls Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay visited TJ Repairs in Milford in February to earn their Automotive Care Badge. This program includes basic skills for young drivers including how to change a tire and check the oil but also preventative measures of car care. Samantha Palmer, Alaina Judd and Haley Hoffman are each in high school and will be taking these skills on the road shortly as they are preparing to earn their Delaware driver’s license.
Owner of TJ Repairs, Tim Millman was encouraged by how much the scouts wanted to know once they started learning about car care. “Car safety is very important. One of the most dangerous things you do throughout your day is drive,” he said. “Maintenance is so critical to staying safe on the road as many accidents are preventable by just simply taking care of our vehicles.”
The scouts learned to change a flat tire, check tire pressure and wear, change windshield wiper blades, use jumper cables to restart a car, check levels and replace fluids and change air filters. To complete their badge, they also researched features that engineers have developed to make vehicles safer. They selected a car make and model to find out which safety features it offers as standard and sketched a new car safety improvement on an existing one.
“These are skills they need to learn,” said Scout leader Veronica Hoffman. “They may not always be in a position where they can depend on someone else to help them if they are say stranded on the side of the road.”
According to AAA, every day car crashes end more teen lives than cancer, homicide and suicide combined. Based on miles driven, teen drivers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. Children’s risk of being hurt in a crash begins to increase as early as middle school age when they ride with older siblings, teen neighbors and siblings of their friends. Even the best and brightest teen drivers have increased risk of being involved in a deadly crash compared with experienced adult drivers.
According to research, teens value the opinions of their parents most of all, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. That’s why sharing knowledge about safe driving is so important. Before they take the wheel is the time to begin a potentially life-saving dialogue with teens, setting and enforcing rules, and modeling safe and responsible driving to avoid crashes.
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