Getting a driver’s license and a car is a big milestone for a teen. It means freedom. Freedom from parents and the bus. But with that new license comes a big responsibility; a responsibility that many teens don’t take into account.
So before your teenage driver asks for those car keys, here are the 5 things you must talk to them about first.
- Buckle up. It seems like this might be intuitive, but unless you have constantly encourage, ahem, demanded your teen to buckle up all of his or her life, this is a good reminder. Wearing a seat belt simply saves lives. In my state, more than 60 percent of teens who were killed in an accident last year were NOT wearing a seat belt. Who wants to wonder if their precious lives would have been saved if they were wearing one? If that does not scare, ahem, encourage your teen to buckle up, maybe the thought of a ticket will. Many states are adopting the “Click it, or Ticket” campaign. Buckling up not for you? You’ll have to pay for it.
- Driving costs money. Unless your teen is forking over the dough for his or her car payment and gas expenses, the teen might think that driving is without cost. Sit down your teenage driver and let them in on the cost involved with owning a car: car maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations, cleanings; auto insurance for teenage drivers; gas; and car payments. The thought of knowing where their allowance could go might inspire your teen to respect his or her new wheels.
- Know the law. Many teens might think getting a ticket and breaking the law are two different things. There is a disconnect that getting a ticket is actually breaking the law. There are many laws associated with driving, and it does not hurt to review them every so often. Speeding is one of the most common reasons a policeman pulls over a driver. The cost of a speeding ticket could be three hours in traffic school up to $500 for speeding in a work zone. Stops signs are just that: a signal to stop. Rolling stops will get you a ticket. And in my state, a teen younger than 17 is not allowed to have a non-family member passenger. Driving unauthorized friends around will earn you a ticket, or worse, revoke your license.
- Do not drive distracted. Teens are not equipped mentally to multi-task. Which is why many accidents are caused by teens who are distracted. The rising culprit is texting while driving. And if you are in an accident where someone dies, and you caused it by texting, you might look at a manslaughter charge. Yes, my friends. That could mean jail time.
- Trust your gut. Even though your teen might be driving, there is a good chance that he or she will also be a passenger in a friend’s car. Teach your teen to get out of the car if they feel uncomfortable, especially if a friend has been drinking.
Remember to check out various cheap insurance quotes to save money for teen insurance.