There is a lot to think about when your young teenager starts to get to the age where it’s time to start thinking about getting a driver’s license. There is the question of what vehicle they will drive, rules about when and where they can drive and how you will enforce these rules when your child is infused with this new-found freedom.
Then, there’s the safety issue. Between distractions in the car and plain inexperience, it is no wonder that teenagers tend to be in the most car accidents. As a parent, you have to wonder what you can do to prevent an accident and how liable you will be if there is one.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you consider when (and if) you want to agree to hand over the keys.
When your teen is in an accident, it may not be the first question you ask, but once you know everyone is ok, it’s pretty high on the list: Who has to pay for the damage?
In most cases, the parent of a minor child is liable for any damage done when the teen is driving. In the rare case that the parent and the child have shown that the child has “financial responsibility” for the vehicle, any damages will be up to the child.
Part of the danger is lack of experience
There are only so many situations a teenager can learn about and experience behind the wheel when learning how to drive. About the time you think you have warned them of all of the possible dangers, something comes up that surprises you both. While your years of experience may give you the tools you need to react to new situations quickly, your teen is not so lucky.
The easiest way to overcome a teenager’s lack of experience behind the wheel is to help them have more experience with you along for the ride. While it may be tempting to let your new driver learn for his or herself, taking routine trips together can help you see how your new driver is doing and can allow you to continue to help them learn from your experience.