First car memories & safe driving for teens

My first car was a quirky thing. Which meant, of course, it was perfect for me.

Volvo Bertone Coupe

It was a 1980 Volvo Bertone coupe. Since my dad owned a mechanic shop, he occasionally came across an opportunity to buy a cheap car no one else wanted. My car was one of those. I was away from home, visiting a friend in Ohio for two weeks (the first time I ever flew on an airplane!) the summer I turned 15, and on a phone call home my parents mentioned that my dad had bought a repossessed car he planned to fix up for me. I was over-the-moon ecstatic. It wouldn’t have mattered what it looked like; it was a car!

My response was a lot like this — though my car was decidedly less shiny in the beginning! (If you can’t see the video, click here.)

For the next year, we fixed up that old Volvo: rebuilding the engine, replacing the differential, restoring the worn sun-bleached leather seats, and sanding and repainting the exterior. Obviously, I didn’t have the skills to do most of the work, but I did whatever I could. I didn’t pay for my first car in dollars, but I invested serious sweat equity. I loved and appreciated that car, quirks and all.

Safety first!

For the first year or so, the only things I requested for Christmas or my birthday were car-related, like new non-crackly stereo speakers. Tires were my first ever “grown-up” purchase; this was back in the stone age before the Internet was easily accessible, but I researched as well as I could because I knew they were an important requirement for safe driving!

Two primary reasons my parents let me have that particular car as my first: my dad specialized in Volvo repair, and Volvo was and is one of the safest cars out there. Since Kathryn turns 15 in September, we’ve already started a little driving practice in nearby parking lots, and we’ve been talking about helping her find a good safe used car when it comes time for that.

After Kathryn, I’ve still got TWO more drivers to teach in the next decade, including this guy!

future driver

Facts you (and your teen drivers) should know:

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers, based on accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council. Years ago, I lost a good friend to a fatal car accident on Memorial Day; because of him, I think of those dangerous statistics every year.

  • Automobile accidents are the number one killer of teens in America. That’s 5,000 deaths annually.
  • 12% of the 2.2 million auto accidents each year with inexperienced drivers are due to tire-related issues. That’s 264,000 tire-related crashes.
  • 26% of tire-related accidents are attributed to low tread depth, which can lead to less traction on the road; 32% of tire-related accidents are attributed to improper tire pressure.
  • Checking your tire pressure monthly and learning the proper way to check tread depth are two easy tasks that can help you correctly maintain your tires and contribute to overall vehicle safety. Learn how to check tire tread and air pressure.
  • You can find and download additional road safety tips here.

MICHELIN® is a tire manufacturer that has focused on road safety for over 125 years. The #FirstCarMoment campaign is an extension of their larger effort to increase awareness of road safety, and this post is part of that campaign. To learn more about this campaign, visit Michelin Man on YouTube.

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And now for a giveaway: new tires!

MICHELIN® Premier® LTX® tires provide exceptional levels of safety even as tires wear down, making them “safe when new and safe when worn.” Even when worn, the MICHELIN® Premier® LTX® still stops shorter on wet roads than leading competitors’ new tires. The MICHELIN® Premier® LTX® tire combines hidden grooves that emerge as the tire wears, expanding rain grooves that widen over time to continue to evacuate water and a unique rubber compound for increased wet grip, resulting in prolonged safety and performance for vehicle owners in a range of weather conditions.

Note: MICHELIN® will work with winners to identify the appropriate tire size and availability of tires for their vehicle and ship them to their preferred address; if MICHELIN® Premier® LTX® tires are not available for your car, the next best tire option will be determined and provided.

To enter for a chance to win this giveaway, answer the following question in the comments below: When it comes to road/car safety, what do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started driving?

{Disclosure: Tires for giveaway were provided by MICHELIN® as part of a partnership with SheKnows. I was compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.}

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