Setting Ground Rules for Your Teen Driver

By Evan Fischer
Sponsored Guest Contributor

Kids grow up faster than we can keep track of them, and part of their growing up and eventually gaining independence is learning how to drive. Once your teen has gotten his or her learner’s permit and subsequently a real driver’s license, he or she is naturally going to want to drive everywhere. This can be a stressful part of parenthood, but remember that you put your parents through the same thing.

Driving is serious business, so it’s important that you set solid ground rules for your teen driver. Your teen is most likely not going to be driving his or her own car or paying for insurance for a couple of years, so the financial and legal burden of responsible driving is going to rest on your shoulders. It’s going to be important to have a good long talk with your young driver about this.

Emphasize the responsibility that driving a car entails. Cars are dangerous machines that require a high level of sense and maturity to operate safely. Reckless or careless driving can result in accidents, expensive repairs, and even serious injury or death for your child and others on the road. Make sure your teen understands the gravity of this situation. If the young driver has already passed a driving test, he or she obviously knows the rules of the road and the guidelines for safe driving, but when kids are out with their friends they don’t always act the same way. If you don’t feel that your kids are mature enough to handle driving sensibly, do not let them hit the road alone or with friends.

Of course there should never be any driving under the influence of any substances. Kids will be kids, and they are likely doing things that they don’t tell you about. Teens shouldn’t be drinking anyway according to the law, but you should realize that they go to parties and things happen. Driving under the influence is a very serious issue, and your teen should understand the consequences of drunk driving.

Safety issues aside, there are financial concerns to consider as your teen takes to the road. He or she should be expected to refill the tank with gas before returning the car every time. This will help to instill a sense of responsibility in driving. Let them know that it’s not just fun and games; driving costs money. You might also consider requiring that your teen driver chip in on insurance costs. Look up insurance quotes online to find out how much an extra member on your plan will cost, and divide financial obligations accordingly. Have them help you and be part of the processes, making them feel they have an equal part to play.

Remember above all that teen driving is not something to be taken lightly. Instill safe driving habits in your youngsters and make sure that they are approaching this new facet of growing up with maturity and common sense. Too many parents receive phone calls with bad news after their kids have been out driving, so don’t let your teen behind the wheel until you are sure he or she can handle the responsibility.

About the Author:

Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. He enjoys writing about the latest tech news for a variety of companies and discovering new and innovative gadgets.

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