Your teenage driver-to-be will be excited about this major milestone to come once travel restrictions are lifted.* But how will you feel? Concerned and apprehensive? Those are natural reactions—ones that won’t end when you allow your teen to begin driving.
Knowledge can help put your mind at ease, and it can help you determine whether your teen—and you—are ready for the responsibilities of driving. Here are five questions to ask yourself before you let your teen get a driver’s license:
Do you know your state’s licensing process?
In most states, teens can start working toward their driver’s license at age 15, though the minimum age for learner’s permits is anywhere from 14 to 16 nationwide. The laws where you live may have changed since you learned to drive, so check your state’s DMV website. Another resource is Keys2Drive, AAA’s guide to teen driver safety, which details the licensing process.
Are you comfortable with your teen’s decision making?
Look for signs that they understand the importance of driving and independence. When they are riding in your car, are they using a safety belt without being reminded? When they are out with friends on the weekend, are they meeting their curfew? If you answer no to questions like these, it may be a sign that your teen isn’t mature enough to handle the rules of driving.
How does your teen react when you discuss driving?
Talking with your teen about learning to drive is another good way to assess your readiness—and theirs. Are you setting a good example by avoiding distracted driving and following the rules of the road? Have you talked about the attention required to drive safely? The more issues you address early, the safer and smoother the whole process will be.
Have you determined clear terms for your teen to start driving?
Setting expectations is important for both of you. Establish points like passenger restrictions and off-limit driving times, and decide who will pay for things like insurance, tickets and gas. Determine ways to deal with distractions like music, food and phones.
AAA’s parent-teen driving agreement can help you establish rules, outline expectations and spell out consequences.
How will a new driver affect your auto insurance?