When is your teen responsible enough to drive? As a parent, you may be thinking “never.” But at some point, your teen is going to want to drive like most other teens his or her age. So it’s a good idea for parents to know when to step in and when to step aside.
While every teen is different, here is a general checklist to help you get started determining your teen’s driving readiness.
1. Is your teen responsible in other areas of his life? If he is not getting homework done, for instance, or has a habit of blowing off responsibilities, then he may not be ready for the big responsibility of driving.
2. When you drive with your teen, what is her attention span like? Being easily distracted can be deadly on the road. Take note of your teen’s attention span and note if she is able to filter out distractions and concentrate on the road.
3. Does he listen, especially when you’re driving? Teens are notorious for thinking they already know everything. But your teen doesn’t know everything about driving, and he needs to be able to hear and understand driving tips and directions before heading out on his own.
4. Is there a practical reason why she needs to drive on her own? Some teens take on jobs and need to commute, or maybe they are taking a class or participating in extracurricular activities which require a commute. Take your teens practical needs into consideration as you decide about her driving.
5. What are his reflexes and reaction time like? Having a quick reaction time is crucial on the road. If your teen tends to “zone out” and take a while to come back to earth, he might need someone else in the car with him for a while longer.
6. Is your teen able to contribute to the costs of driving, such as insurance, gas, and maintenance? If she is just expecting you to do it all and has no idea how registration works, it’s a good idea to bring her up to speed on these important matters before turning her loose.
7. What about your teen’s room? Is he responsible with his belongings, or does his room look like a bomb hit it? Your teen might treat his own car or your car as lightly as he does his smaller belongings. It might be a good idea to make sure he knows how to keep his own stuff together first.