* Use caution when buying used. While purchasing a used vehicle may make economic sense, it is important to recognize that used vehicles are more likely to suffer roadside breakdowns. Consult the Kelly Blue Book and NADA price guides to determine the true market value of the vehicle. Then, have a pre-purchase mechanical inspection performed at an AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.
* Teach proper maintenance. Spend time helping your young adult become familiar with the vehicle owner's manual and preventive maintenance schedule. This includes checking tire pressures, fluid levels, hoses, battery and windshield wipers, as well as keeping the car's exterior and interior clean and polished.
One helpful tool is the AAA AutoManager, available at www.AAA.com. Users of this Web application system will routinely receive e-mail reminders advising them of when it is time to perform a specific service for their vehicle.
* Plan for emergencies. New drivers should plan ahead on how to respond to unexpected situations such as a car crash, a lost key, a stolen vehicle or a breakdown. Besides being enrolled in a roadside assistance program, have an emergency contact list and a written plan in the glove compartment. Make sure the vehicle is equipped with an emergency road kit that includes a flashlight with fresh batteries, reflective triangles, jumper cables and a first-aid kit.
* Set some limits. Young drivers should be aware of potentially dangerous situations such as drinking and driving, distracted driving and aggressive or reckless driving. They should also understand the importance of wearing a seat belt at all times. Because young drivers' crash rates go up at night, their nighttime driving should be limited while they are learning and gaining experience. Novice drivers also have challenges managing distractions, so they should carry no more than one passenger and should only use a cell phone in an emergency.
For more tips and information, visit www.AAA.com.