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Is your teenager ready for their own car?


Responsibility and judgment are key to handing over the keys

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they have to make a decision on when their teenager might be ready to drive and have their own car. Our gut reaction might simply be to say they aren’t ready. We’re simply not willing to have them out of the nest and flying on their own. If you’re worried about your teen having his or her car, there are a few signs to look for that help indicate if they are ready to handle the responsibility.

From exercising good judgment to being responsible in all aspects of their lives, it all boils down to maturity.

If your teen has good judgment, this is a good sign that they may be ready for their vehicle. But, teenagers are teenagers, and sometimes they don’t make the right decision, so what is good judgment in correlation to driving? “He or she should be able to stay out of trouble at school, get along with a group of friends or deal with conflict without causing pain. they have the skills to make sound judgments about driving,” writes Jessica Bosari with Forbes.

Having good judgment also means being able to follow the rules at home, school, work, and other places. Respecting rules shows maturity and indicates that if they follow the rules without a car, they are more likely to follow the rules with a car. “If he or she shows a sign of respect for rules and boundaries, he or she will probably respect speed limits and other traffic laws,” adds Bosari.

One of the biggest issues faces teens is peer pressure. Every teen deals with peer pressure at some point and whether or not they succumb to peer pressure can determine what kind of judgment they have. “If your son or daughter tends to follow the pack as opposed to sticking up for what is right, he or she may not be ready for the responsibility of the car,” writes Bosari.

Once you’ve gauged their judgment, ability to follow the rules and how they deal with peer pressure, the last question to ask is “do they act responsibly?” This ties into each of the previous points, but is of particular importance for your teen to show they are responsible for adding something else to their plate. If they keep up with their homework, even have a part-time job, participate in extra activities, generally help around the house, keep up with their grades, and usually show a desire for being a participant in a responsible life, it is likely that they will continue doing this even if they have their car. Furthermore, they will probably understand the privilege involved with having their vehicle and will want to do whatever they can to ensure they keep it.

If you feel confident, your teen showcases all these attributes; it's a good sign they might be ready for their vehicle. But, even if they do have all of these characteristics, but you feel they need more time, teendriversource.org has an excellent suggestion. “Say that the answer isn’t ‘no.’ It’s ‘not yet.’ Explain that it’s a decision for safety, not control.”

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