Nobody necessarily wants a child driving a car. The idea of a kid who can barely see over the wheel taking control of a four- ton mobile wrecking machine sounds like a bad idea overall. There are some cases where things go awry for the driver and if choosing between no driver at all or a child, no driver loses every time.

The example comes from a story in the news of 12 year-old boy from Massachusetts who was riding in the car with his father at the wheel. Suddenly, the father had a stroke as they were driving down the highway. The child was too young to drive, but he was able to safely maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road and use landmarks to aid rescuers in finding them.

In situations like this, the family could have crashed and hurt others if the child hadn’t felt confident enough to steer and brake at the right time. The kid didn’t know things most drivers would, like what highway they were traveling or how far out they were, but he knew to use the breakdown lane and to stand safely beyond the guardrail once the car was parked.

Here’s a list of what to familiarize your children with in the event of an emergency.

  1. The car’s basic functions. Make your kid aware of which pedal brakes and which accelerates. They should know how to turn the car on and off, as well as how to put the vehicle in park before turning the engine off. Highlight where the hazard lights are as well.
  2. How to describe their surroundings. When calling for help, the emergency response team can only trace the origin of the phone call back to a general area. In order to find exactly where to go, kids will need to tell them what they see. Is there a road sign nearby? Are there distinguishable landmarks like waterways, bridges, billboards or other details that can help pinpoint the location?
  3. How to find safe areas to pull over. Children may not realize that they can’t stop just anywhere. Tell them to slow down, turn on the hazards and look for a wide area of shoulder or breakdown lane to stop in. Make sure they know not to open their door into traffic and stay near the car while they wait for help.

If you are in a car accident, then don’t wait to seek legal help. Even if you aren’t at fault and the accident seems simple, having an experienced lawyer on your side can be the difference maker.