When a teenager turns around the age of 15, there’s one topic of conversation that is pretty much impossible for any parent to avoid: When will they be able to get their driver’s license? And while legally, they may be able to do it at 16 (or 17, depending on the state you live in), just because their age may say “ready”, that doesn’t mean that their maturity level agrees. Driving is a wonderful (and pretty much necessary) milestone in any young person’s life, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility, accountability, and yes, even a few potential risks.
Driving is a wonderful (and pretty much necessary) milestone in any young person’s life, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility, accountability, and yes, even a few potential risks.
So, with that said, how can you know if your teenager is ready to get their driver’s license? Here are five questions to consider:
We’ve probably all heard a teenager say that they can’t wait to get out on their own so that they can do their own thing. Boy, if they only knew that while they may not have their parents always checking on them, that doesn’t mean that they won’t have to answer to authority figures from their landlord to the IRS. And on the road, the police and state troopers. If your children already don’t like listening to you, it could become much worse for them when it comes to being on the road. Disobeying you may lead to them getting grounded, but ignoring a law official might land them in jail. Make sure to “drive” that fact home.
Do they keep the current rules of the house?
Driving comes with a lot of laws that must be kept with each drive from stopping at stop signs and using blinkers, to adhering to the speed limit and knowing who has the right-of-way. If your teen already doesn’t do their assigned chores or adhere to their curfew, this could be an indication that they are not yet prepared to add more rules to their list of things to follow.
Do they get good grades?
Aside from the fact that getting good grades can get you a discount when it comes to your teenager’s health insurance, it also conveys the message that your teen is pretty responsible when it comes to doing the daily tasks that they are assigned. If they take their classwork seriously, there’s a pretty good chance that they will be accountable while driving as well.
How are they with other teen drivers?
Some parents don’t allow their teenagers to ride with other teens until they have a license. But, it can actually be a pretty good test of character to allow your child to go out with their friends who are already (legally) on the road, just to see how well they handle themselves in those types of settings. If your teen uses their seat belt, if they don’t drink, if they honor the curfew…if they call you if their friends are unable to drive them back home, all of these reflect signs of maturity. All of these give you, even more, a reason to consider letting them get a driver’s license of their own.
What do they know about cars?
When it comes to being a licensed driver, it’s helpful to not just know how to drive but to know a little bit about cars in general as well. So, throw them a pop quiz every once in a while about how often they should get an oil change or the dangers that come with driving without enough air in their tires. In asking about the mechanicals of a car, they may not be able to tell you how to put on a new distributor cap or what a brake bleeder is, but as long as they can provide you with the basics, that shows not just initiative; it also reveals that they are preparing to not just get on the road but to be a good driver once it happens.
You may also find these 5 Essentials Every Teen Driver Needs to be of help in making your decision.