How to Know When Your Teen is Ready to Get Behind the Wheel

Parenting presents unique challenges and sadly, there isn’t a parenting handbook to reference on the topic of raising teenagers. One of the most stressful rites of passage for both parents and teens is the transition of a new driver in the family. Here in Rhode Island, the legal age to get a driver’s license is 16 years old. When your child reaches this age, it is important to remember that age is just a number. With a driver’s license comes responsibility that extends far beyond your child. Jessica Bosari, a contributor to Forbes.com wrote the following checklist to help make this decision. The complete article can be found at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneywisewomen/2012/03/22/5-signs-your-teen-is-ready-for-a-car/#446c1867349b

  1. Exercises Good Judgment

Your teen should be able to exercise good judgment in a number of situations before letting him or her alone with the car. Of course, not all teens make the best choices all the time, but it’s important that your son or daughter generally chooses the smart path. 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 trouble.

  1. Follows Rules

A good indicator as to whether your teen will obey the driving laws is if he or she obeys other rules imposed on him or her. Does he or she respect home rules, such as curfews, chores or getting along with siblings? Has your child been in trouble for breaking school rules? If he or she shows a respect toward rules and boundaries, he or she will most likely respect speed limits and other traffic laws.

  1. Doesn’t Cave to Peer Pressure

Teens are faced with peer pressure on a regular basis. It might be silly things; friends wanting to toilet paper the chemistry teacher’s house, or it might be more serious: the temptations of drugs and alcohol. When faced with pressure from friends, teens often give in, against their better judgment. 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.

  1. Acts Responsibly

Responsible teenagers get their homework and chores done without asking, hold a part-time job to earn extra spending money, babysit younger children, or participate in extra-curricular activities at school. A responsible teen can be trusted to drive safely, bring the car home on time and follow other driving rules imposed by parents.

It is important to understand all of the implications of putting your teen behind the wheel. Be sure to consult knowledgeable professionals, such as a personal liability lawyer and your auto insurance company to discuss your personal situation.

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