Before sending your teen into the world with only four good tires and a steering wheel to keep them safe, make sure they’ve got the right technology. Apps are plentiful these days, and even if you usually leave gadgets to the younger set, it’s worth looking into a few of the more useful resources available to you. Cell phones carry with them a few dangers of course, but if used correctly, they can be one of your young driver’s best tools in an emergency.
Though most phones these days come with mapping software, there are several additional apps you might consider. For instance, LockMapper for Windows Phone, sets a map as the home screen so your teen can keep an eye on her route without taking her hands off the wheel, according to WindowsPhone.com. If your kid is new to driving on their own, or has a history of unapproved exploration, install Track My Trip on their phone, an app that’s also available for Windows. Track My Trip records a history of your driver’s round trip for later fact-checking purposes.
Find My Car
The last thing you want when your baby heads out to a nighttime concert is to worry about him wandering around in the dark afterward, looking for his car. Protect against this possibility with Find My Car, an Android app from the Google Play Store, that saves information on where your kid parks. Not only can it help guide them back to the spot later, but they can take pictures of their location in underground garages where reception doesn’t reach.
Deals and Steals
Haven’t quite sent your driver out into the world yet? If you’re waiting for the right car before you let them loose, try the used car section on Kelley Blue Book. While you’re driving them around on the car hunt, invite your child to use the site to scout out options. Kelley Blue Book lets you check prices, features, safety ratings and availability, and divides sales by owner, dealership or certified pre-owned. Letting them in on the search process teaches responsibility and ownership before they ever climb behind the wheel.
Of course, sometimes responsibility and ownership might not be enough: cars still run out of gas, pop tires, or even get into unavoidable (and avoidable) wrecks. Prepare for this eventuality by talking with your teen about how to respond in an emergency and familiarizing them with the AAA Mobile App for members. This app not only provides convenient services like mall and restaurant discounts, it also offers roadside assistance for everything from accidents to scenarios like locking the keys in the car, according to AAA.com. It also serves up handy help with where to go to get a battery serviced, replacement quotes, and contact information. Available for iPhone and Android.
If your teen has a proven track record of texting while driving, or if you’re undergoing a trial period, consider apps like Android’s TextArrest, which turns off text and email capabilities any time the car is traveling faster than 5 mph. According to the iTunes App Store, SafeDriver for iPhone monitors your teen’s driving practices – including speed, acceleration, braking and cornering – and emails you any time they surpass an established threshold.