Being a teenage driver can be a wonderful but sometimes scary experience – you just got your license, you finally have that feeling of freedom to go anywhere you want without having to bum a ride from your parents, but pretty much everything is brand new to you.
Sure, you’ve gone through drivers education, and probably taken lessons from your parents, and sure you have your license, but what you don’t have yet is experience behind the wheel in all sorts of crazy circumstances to know how to best handle them and keep yourself and your passengers safe.
Obviously as a teen driver you’re likely thinking you’re invincible and you know better, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also take advantage of some awesome accessories out there to set yourself up for as many trouble free miles as possible.
The last thing you want is to think you know better and end up in a fender bender because you missed out, so pay attention and let’s go over some of the very best things to have in your car as a teenage driver.
Heads Up Display
One of the bigger problems teen drivers get into is getting caught speeding. Not only can it lead to expensive tickets and having to deal with angry parents but it can also lead to issues with your insurance company and worst yet an accident. Quite possibly one of the best ways to avoid getting into a situation where you’re speeding is having a heads up display in your car to keep your speed right in front of you so you can’t miss it.
Heads up displays come as optional safety features on some higher end cars, but fortunately since most teen drivers start out with hand me down or lower cost cars there are aftermarket options that can be added to any car for under $30.
These add on heads up display units will put your speed as well as other things like your GPS heading right in front of your face so you can’t miss it, but of course not actually blocking your vision so you still get a clear view of the road ahead.
Next on the list here is a dash camera, also something that can easily be added to just about any car with a suction cup mount on the windshield and plugged into a cigarette lighter adapter – adding a dash cam to your car can not only be a great protection measure against potential theft if you leave your backpack or purse in the car, but offer you a lot of protection and peace of mind in case of an accident.
Hopefully you never have to find yourself in this scenario, but just in case you ever do, having dash camera footage can be a huge expense saver in the event you do have a fender bender. It’s pretty easy for experienced drivers to blame a new teen driver for not paying attention or causing an accident, but if you have a dash camera you can easily defend yourself to your insurance company or your parents and prove you actually didn’t do anything wrong.
It’s super easy for a new driver to get distracted while driving looking for music or texting, so putting yourself in a position where you can avoid that is the right move wherever possible, and the best way to do that is to make sure you have either CarPlay or Android Auto in your car.
Almost all of the newer cars you can buy today come with either CarPlay or Android Auto, the Apple and Android in car infotainment systems, but again, assuming you have an older car you can also add this as an aftermarket accessory with options from companies like Alpine or Pioneer that will fit pretty much any car you drive.
The system works by connecting your phone to your car via usb cable so you can keep your phone safely out of your hands and use either voice commands or a simplified menu to access the main things you’d need, which helps to keep your focus on the road where it belongs.
If you don’t have CarPlay or Android Auto, the next best thing here is to at least make sure you have some form of bluetooth connection in your car to be able to handle phone calls hands free. A lot of teens make the mistake of thinking that just using headphones while on the phone solves that problem but unfortunately even though it is technically hands free, it still presents a dangerous situation by preventing you from hearing the other drivers around you. A really simple bluetooth system can be added to any car for as little as $20 that just plugs into a cigarette lighter adapter.
This one is super simple but sometimes the simple things are the easiest to forget. Keeping a good flashlight in your car can be a literal life saver if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need it. Do yourself a favor and grab a small one to stash in your glovebox or under your seat so in an emergency you are prepared.
Blind Spot Mirrors
Getting used to knowing where the edges of your car are is not something that comes quick, and if you make a wrong judgement call you can quickly find yourself in a position where you did some damage to your car or someone elses, so do yourself a favor and pick up a set of blind spot mirrors and make sure you put them on your car.
These small mirrors can attach to your existing side view mirrors and help to give you a much better view of the sides of your car while you’re parking or while you’re trying to change lanes to make sure nothing is in the way of where you’re moving.
Here is another really awesome safety feature that often comes standard in new cars but can be added to just about any car with some really simple aftermarket options.
A lot of experienced drivers have problems backing up or just plain seeing behind them so rather than risk running into or over something, solve the problem by adding a backup camera to your car.
A Tool Kit
You don’t need to be a master mechanic and you don’t need to pack a ton of tools, but if you pick up one of the small combination tool kits that includes a basic screwdriver and some common sockets, you’ll find yourself prepared in the event you need them.
This is another one of those scenarios where it’s better to be prepared and not need it than need it and not have it, considering how inexpensive you can find them for and how little room they take up in your glovebox or trunk, a small tool kit will be your best friend when you need it.
Even if you don’t actually need it for your car itself, if you find yourself needing a screwdriver when at a friends house to change a battery or whatever the scenario is you’ll be happy to have one right there in your car.
Here’s another small tool that you don’t need to be a master mechanic for, but can be a huge help in the event you actually need it.
A tire gauge measures the amount of air pressure in your tires, useful for making sure they’re filled properly and safe for driving. Some cars have built in tire pressure sensors but chances are strong yours might not, so stashing one of these gauges in your glovebox can be a huge lifesaver.
Yet another addition to the list of things you hope you never need but will be thrilled to have if you ever do – keeping a set of jumper cables in your trunk can be one of the best decisions you ever make when it comes to stocking your car as a new driver.
Jumper cables are useful for jump starting your car (or your friends car) if the battery dies while you’re hanging out listening to music or if you leave the car and forget to turn the lights off.
Being a teen driver can be stressful. Actually, just being a teenager in general can be stressful, but if you keep these things in your car you’ll be setting yourself up to avoid as many problems and distractions as possible and helping to make sure you have a lot of stress free miles of driving ahead of you.