Parents: 3 Things You Should Ask Before Your Teenager Drives Away
During a recent conversation with parents of a new teenage driver, the subject of concerns about what their son would be doing now that they have their driver’s license came up. The mom had worries, and rightly so, what their 17-year old would be doing after school while she and her husband were at work.
As teenage drivers ourselves at one point, we had immediate flashbacks to those high school days of joy riding around Stafford and Fredericksburg, jamming to loud music with our friends, never seeming to end up actually anywhere. Looking back, what a waste of time, gas and money!
Will today's tech help?
We talked for a few moments of how technology has changed, with GPS tracking and newer tools available, such as the plug-in devices available from insurance companies and cell phone carriers for a car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port. Tech has definitely provided more options than we experienced as teens to help keep tabs on location, speed, amount of time and miles driven, etc.
There is, for sure, a valid concern as to whether one is merely aware of what their teenager is doing versus being overbearing. Our position is that when it comes to the overall safety of your son or daughter, their friends and other motorists on the road, one can never have too much insight on to what is actually taking place.
Giving general parenting advice is not one of our specialties so to speak, however, when it comes to teenagers and receiving their driver’s license, we do have a bit of experience. Our best advice to these, and all parents of new drivers for that matter, is to ask three simple questions every time their son or daughter is about to drive:
1. Where are you going?
Simply ask the question, “Where are you going?” This will help paint a picture of what the teen’s intentions are, and help answer the other two questions. Will they be traveling far? Should you be concerned about how much gas the car has or will be used? Do you impose a curfew that your son or daughter must adhere to? Asking where they are going certainly checks a few boxes off the list.
2. Who will be with you?
Secondly, find out who will be with them in the car. This too gives you needed details, and as a teen driver in Virginia, you are limited to the number of passengers you can have with you at a time.
3. When will you be back?
Lastly, and this goes back to the curfew point, ask what time they will be back. No parent wants to see their child’s grades slip, or athletic activities missed, because the majority of time is spent driving around town. A simple reminder is to tell them the roads have been around for decades, and will be there for decades more, so you’re not going to miss much if you’re back by whatever time.
Receiving your driver’s license is a significant milestone in a teenager’s life, and maintaining self-control and doing what’s right is a critical part of driver’s ed that’s reinforced during behind the wheel lessons. As we explained to the worried parents, the tools are available to help keep a grip on behavior, and by asking these three simple questions before a teen drives away can go a long way towards putting one at ease.