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Is Your Teen Ready to Drive?

Written By Pam Gaulin

Is Your Teen Ready to Drive?

Parents of teenagers who remember changing diapers just yesterday are faced with a big decision in the mid-teen years. Parents need to determine if a teen is ready to drive. Teens may think they are ready to become drivers or may be craving the freedom of being behind the wheel, but how do you know when they're ready? Giving teens the responsibility of driving will happen at different times in each family.

Parents need to keep in mind that driving is not a teen right, although it is certainly a rite of passage. Handing over the keys to a teen driver is a responsibility that teens must earn. Teens can earn the privilege to drive through their other behaviors and showing they are responsible, rule-abiding young citizens at school, in public and at home

Aware of Surroundings

A teen who is aware of their surroundings and acts or reacts accordingly, is ready to drive. Driving requires a peripheral awareness of what is going on around you. Awareness of surroundings is a skill which can be taught. Teens not adept at being aware of their surroundings can be taught to pay more attention to their surroundings.

Follows Curfew

One of the biggest indicators of a teen's readiness to drive is how well they follow your curfew rules. The teenager who constantly ignores curfew and pushes the limits of their curfew is not responsible enough for driving. A teen who cannot be responsible enough to come home on time cannot be expected to stop at stop signs or follow speed limits.

Listens to Authority

A teen who is ready to drive not only follows curfew. The teen should also listen to authority figures. The teen who is able to follow the rules in general, and does not have a need to defy authority is ready to drive.

Desire to Drive vs. Need to Drive

A teen should also have the desire to drive. Some teens know they are not ready to drive and they should not be pushed. Teens who are not ready or do not want to drive can be taught slowly, when they are ready.

Also consider if the teen has a real need to drive. A teen who holds a part-time job may need to drive to work sometimes. A teen who holds a part-time job has shown a level of responsibility that also indicates they are ready to drive.

Courteous and Respectful

A teen who is ready to drive is a teen who treats others with overall courtesy and respect. The teen who does not respect others is not ready to get behind the wheel of a car, where courtesy and respect will affect the safety of your teen and of other drivers.

Curbs Anger

A teen who is ready to drive is also an emotionally mature teen. While teens mature at different rates, the teen who can curb anger and harsh words will make a reasonable driver. The teen who is quick to anger may not be ready to drive, until they can control that anger.

Teens who are not impulsive are also ready to get behind the wheel. An impulsive teen may make decisions based on what they want to do rather than the right thing. For example, an impulsive teen may have no qualms about driving in an ice storm to get to a friend's house. An emotionally mature teen will weigh the possible consequences of going out in the ice storm, rather than base their decision on what they feel they should do.

Makes Rational Decisions

If the teen is capable of making rational decisions, the teen may be ready to drive. A teen who is indecisive may not be ready to drive. A confident teen who is capable of making decisions based on facts is a teen who is ready to make similar decision while driving. Driving involves constant decisions about accelerating, breaking and where and when to turn.

Think on Their Feet

Teens are ready to drive when they have the ability to think on their feet. Teens who do not react well to unexpected situations may not be ready for driving. The teen who is ready for driving will have the ability to make quick decisions and react to unexpected situations.

Teens Ready to Drive

A teen who is ready to drive is ready to start a driver's education course.



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