Your teenager’s sixteenth birthday may be only a few months away or seem like light years ahead, but the thought of sending a novice driver out into the world is enough to give any parent a slight panic attack.
Truly, automobiles are two-ton weapons and need to be handled with respect. But then add in the often irrational choices a teenager makes and it’s no wonder hyperventilating ensues!
But you can prepare both your teen driver and yourself for the eventuality of putting him or her on the road with a little forethought. Here are three very important considerations.
1. Education Is Everything
Learning how to drive doesn’t start at age 16; kids are learning all about the rules of the road from the time they’re very little sitting in their car seats in the back of the car. Modeling responsible driving is a huge component of how well your teen will drive later on. Small children are little sponges, and they pay attention when you text and drive, cut people off, or get distracted. So be on your best behavior as a driver. And let your children know what’s okay and what’s not. For instance, it may be okay to have a couple of drinks while out to dinner, but it’s not okay to drive home after. If you plan to drink with your children in the mix, have your spouse or friend be your designated driver. Your kids will remember your smart choices.
Once driver education is available in school or at the local driving school, enroll your child. While parking-lot stalls and stops help to acclimate the driver to the car, a class will provide the legalities — and consequences — of driving, cementing the information Mom and Dad shared informally.
2. Discuss and Implement Reasonable Rules
A car is a big responsibility, whether your teen drives yours or has his own. Naturally, for many parents, cars are the first things their children lose when they make poor choices. That’s a good tactic so your teen driver knows that having a car is a luxury, not something he can take for granted. Before you hand them the keys, discuss expectations while on the road. How many friends are allowed in the car with them? What is their curfew when they have the car? Do they have to call when they arrive at their destination? What should they do if they do drink and cannot drive? Who pays for gas and insurance? Will they be expected to taxi younger siblings around?
Most children (and people in general!) appreciate boundaries and want to meet those challenges, so when your teen driver knows the rules, he’s much more likely to follow them — especially when he also knows what the consequences will be if he doesn’t follow the rules. Some parents have gone so far as to write up a contract outlining what their teens are responsible for and what happens if they step out of the expected boundaries. You can even tie grades and a job into the privilege of having access to the car keys. Just make sure you’re clear and that you’re both on the same page.
3. Check Your Insurance
Once your teen gets her drivers license, you must discuss automobile insurance. Your insurance may cover the car, but what about the driver? Call your Gilbert insurance experts, The Insurance Team, to learn what coverage is appropriate for your teen driver and the car she drives. Boys tend to have higher premiums than girls, so that may factor into who’s responsible or if you’ll share the insurance cost. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll automatically be covered. Be safe and keep your kids safe on the road.
Questions about automobile insurance for your teen driver? We’re happy to help.
Call us today for a free quote: 480-626-1860