Now that school is back in session throughout Alabama, we’re definitely seeing more teen drivers around than we had previously. They obviously have every right to be on the road; they’ve taken all the requisite courses, of course. However, studies have shown that car accidents are the #1 cause of death for US teens, and that the risk is greatest for an accident in the first six to twelve months of driving alone. So, how do you know when your teen is ready to drive alone?
How to Know when your Teen is Ready to Drive Alone
They’ve passed all of the stages of license acquisition. This is probably the best and most obvious evidence that a prospective driver is ready for full privileges. Each state has its own guidelines for discerning when a driver is ready to go it alone, with Alabama using a program that rewards full privileges at the age of seventeen.
Put them through some higher-level skills testing. With you in the car, take them through some driving situations that they might not have encountered during their typical license training. Take them driving at night, through bad weather, through traffic, and through some construction zones. Keep notes of how they respond to potential hazards, if they get distracted, and if they are properly scanning their surroundings and reducing speed accordingly.
Ask yourself, are they mature enough to handle it? Obviously, a teenager isn’t yet an adult, and it’s important to gauge their maturity before you just hand over the keys. Do a quick inventory of how you know your teen to behave. Do they follow the rules, accept consequences of their actions and try to avoid risks? How do they respond to peer pressure? Are they ready for the responsibility of driving alone.
Read More: Safety Tips for Driving with an Infant
Set limits and make sure that they understand them. Even once you’ve handed over the keys, it’s important to make them know what is expected of them. Don’t hesitate to set limits on passengers in the car, and on keeping potential distractions such as phones and music to a minimum. Set a curfew, and make it known that if they get a ticket, that they’re on the hook for it.
Obviously, driving is a huge responsibility, and it’s one that you and your teen driver shouldn’t take lightly. Be real and honest with them, and you should be able to avoid potential obstacles. And, when you’re ready to look at some terrific cars for teens, come check out our fuel-efficient lineup at Harbin Auto!