Most teens dream of having their own car almost as soon as they become a teenager. While your child may know how to drive, you may be wondering if your teenager is responsible enough for a car. I know I wondered and still do wonder sometimes.
Here are some guidelines you may want to think about before deciding to let them have their own car.
Is My Teenager Responsible Enough for a Car?
If you’ve ridden in the car with them while they drive, you’ll know whether they’re good drivers or not. Whether or not you think they’re a safe driver may be more important than whether or not they’re responsible. They may be very responsible but if they drive recklessly or inatentatively, you obviously won’t want to put them behind the wheel of their own vehicle.
How responsible are they in other areas of their life? Can you trust them to do the things that are required of them and do so in a reasonable amount of time? Here are some questions to consider:
Here are some questions to consider:
* Do they finish all schoolwork before doing things they want to do? Knowing that there are certain things they have to do before doing what they want, shows they are able to manage their time and that they know how to use that time wisely.
* How do they handle money when you give it to them? Do they spend everything right away on perceived needs, or do they spend it on what it was intended to be used for?
* Is your teen liable to keep you informed of what they’re doing, where they’re going, and who they are with, or do you often wonder where they are?
* Can you depend on them to help keep the house clean including their own room? Or does their room look like a disaster area?
* Do they have an after-school job? If so, do they arrive on time for their shift or are they constantly late?
* Are they willing to learn about the care and maintenance of cars? Knowing at least the basics will ensure they can fill their own gas tank, check the oil, washer fluid, and other fluids in the car. They also need to learn how to change a tire. If they’re not willing to learn the basics of car maintenance, maybe they’re not responsible enough for a car.
Cost VS Need
Your teen needs to understand how serious having a vehicle is. If you were to get them a car, you would not continue to pay all expenses. Talk about different costs associated with driving a car.
It’s expensive to have a teenager on your auto insurance policy. Make sure they know if they get a traffic ticket your insurance will likely increase. Let your teen know they would be responsible for paying the entire ticket and any difference in your insurance policy due to the ticket.
Your teen may think they need their own car, but this usually isn’t the case. Some things to consider for yourself;
- Is your teen’s schedule completely different and they need rides at times when your family car is unavailable?
- If your teen is in a wreck, can your family manage without your main car?
- Does it cost more to add your teen to the current car insurance or to add a whole new car to the policy?
- How often does your teen actually need to drive?
The fact is, unless they have a totally different schedule that requires them to be places while the family car isn’t available, they don’t need their own car!
My Teen Does Drive
In our house, my 16 year old does a lot of errand running for me. Because her younger sister has autism, I can’t always leave the house to get or do things that need to be done right then. But, this usually means that my daughter can just drive my car while I stay home with the younger sister.
Cost is also prohibitive for us. Paying for a used car is just simply out of the question until she can get a job and pay for it herself.
My biggest worry when I let her go off on her own, driving to the dollar store down the block, was her ADHD. I was worried that she could not stay focused enough to drive safely. But, she does. I’ve ridden with her nearly any time we go somewhere in the car. She is not very easily distracted while driving. Something about it, keeps her focused. However, we do have a rule that she can’t have more than one friend in the car while she’s driving and that hasn’t been an issue so far.
After a recent trip to her cousins house, she and her Aunt were both stunned at how different the rules are from their house to ours. Her cousin has his own vehicle, but is not allowed to drive alone, anywhere. From what my daughter tells me, he rarely gets to drive even with parents in the car. And, my question is, why?
Maybe they don’t think he’s a good enough driver, whereas, I know my daughter is. She yells at other drivers for not using their turn signals!
Do your teens drive? If so, how did you handle it?