Driving a car is a big deal. Hitting the streets on four wheels means being responsible for the safety for your passengers, other drivers, and yourself. Is your teenager ready for this?
Since new drivers are vulnerable to more risks, many parents find the answer in a written agreement with their teens: a driving contract.
With a contract, parents and teens can spell it all out: guidelines, expectations and goals. And consequences for violations. Having it in writing also makes everything clear from the start, so it’s harder for anyone to “forget” the rules or bend one-time exceptions into new rules.
The road to independence
As your teen gains road experience, allow them more leeway. Certain benchmarks you can use:
- Once the teen has proven accident and violation-free
- Both parent and teen are comfortable with the teen’s driving abilities
- Overall experience as a driver (6, 9, 12 or 18 months)
Even with an agreement, it’s key not to move too quickly. Their first time with a new privilege should be routine, low-stress – like taking a family member to a weekly activity. Don’t let their first nighttime drive be for a big game. Or to their prom. Lots of anxiety there.
After everyone is comfortable with a new privilege, grant them more. Say, after they’ve gotten the hang of daytime driving, let them drive one night a week. This may all feel painfully slow to your young driver, but one day when you’re least expecting it, they’ll thank you for it.
Want to know more?
Check out our library of Auto Resources to learn more about driving safely and coaching your teens to do the same.