6 Best Ways To Prepare For a Teen Driver

Having a teen driver in the house is both a blessing and a curse.

You don’t have to cart them around everywhere anymore, but there’s the stress of worrying about their safety on the roads. There are also financial considerations.

Will you buy your teen a car? What about insurance costs for an extra driver in the household?

Here’s what to consider when preparing to have a teen driver in the home. This will also help your teen understand the responsibilities that come with being a driver.

1. Determine If Your Teen Is Ready To Start Driving

Not all teens are emotionally or mentally ready to start driving at the age of 16.

One wonders if teens at this age should even be allowed to become legal drivers, considering their brains are still developing.

A study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) highlights that cognitive development continues into the early 20s.

The prefrontal cortex, responsible for judgment, impulse control and attention, is still forming during the teen years. This means the capacity for logical reasoning and understanding the long-term consequences of behaviour are not fully developed in adolescents who are beginning to drive.

At the same time, hormones are flooding their bodies, pushing emotions rather than logic to the forefront. Teens crave the attention and admiration of their peers and may become sensation-seeking.

This is why young people, especially young males, want to impress their friends by showing off their car’s performance or engaging in risky driving behaviour.

If you feel your teen isn’t mature enough yet to be a responsible driver, you can start teaching them to drive but delay getting a driving license until they’re a little older.

This gives them more time to practice and build confidence behind the wheel.

2. Count The Cost

A teen driver can add hundreds of dollars a year to your household budget. It’s best to plan for the cost of a teen driver well ahead of time.

How much will a driving school cost, or would you rather add grey hairs to your head teaching them yourself which can be stressful?

Can you afford to buy a car for your teen, or will you share a vehicle?

If your teen will need their own vehicle, will you take a loan to buy one and can you afford the monthly repayments?

Discuss vehicle running costs with your teen. Can they pay for gas, car repairs and insurance, or would you need to help them?

For instance, teens typically pay much higher rates for car insurance. According to The Zebra, teens pay, on average, 83% more for car insurance than older drivers. It may be cheaper to add your teen to your car insurance policy.

3. Talk About Driver Safety

Teenagers are inexperienced drivers and, therefore, at higher risk of car accidents.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teens are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers aged 20 and older.

Teenagers are more likely to miscalculate a traffic situation and make critical decision errors that result in an accident. They are more likely to speed, tailgate, not use seat belts and text while driving.

Discuss driving safety and set rules with consequences if not adhered to, for example, no driving after a certain hour at night.

If they break the rules, their driving privileges will be temporarily suspended.

Teens tend to push the boundaries, so they may display a bad attitude toward driving restrictions. The key is repetition. How many teens accept what their parents say the first time around?

Just keep having those driver safety conversations and model good driving behaviour to them when you’re behind the wheel.

4. Choose The Right Vehicle

Budget constraints may mean buying a used vehicle. When shopping for a car for your teen, look for one with a good safety rating and solid safety features.

Many older cars dating back to the early 2000s include features like automated braking, forward collision monitoring, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.

5. Install a Driver Monitoring Tool

For extra peace of mind, you can install a driver-monitoring app that tracks your teen’s driving behaviour.

Your car insurance company may have a driver monitoring program where a tracking device that links to an app can be installed in your teen’s car.

You’ll receive an alert on the app when your teen is speeding or using their cell phone while driving. It’s also GPS-enabled so you can see where they have been driving.

Some apps include a panic alert that the driver can trigger when they feel they are in an unsafe situation.

6. Educate Them About Car Maintenance

Teens should learn the basics of car maintenance, including taking their car for regular servicing, knowing how to change a tire and keeping the car clean.

They need to understand that if their vehicle is not properly maintained, it increases the risk of breakdowns and car accidents.

Becoming a driver is a big step toward independence for teens and this transition isn’t always easy on parents. It can be hard to let go and trust that your teen will be a responsible driver.

The better prepared you and your teen are, the easier it will be for both of you.

Deevra Norling is a freelance content writer covering topics such as travel, entrepreneurship, career, human resources, e-commerce, finance, and legal content. When not writing, she’s tossing balls on the beach with the four-legged fur babies she looks after as a professional pet sitter.

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