Preparing Your Teen for Driving in Alabama
It’s a time that many parents both look forward to and dread. Your teen is ready to drive!
That means there are a lot of changes to arrange for. On the one hand, your teen will enjoy more freedom, and you won’t have to worry about driving them everywhere anymore. On the other, you’ll worry more about their safety when they are away.
With the right preparation, a driving teen can be a blessing for everyone involved. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for this important transition.
Every teen dreams of a brand new vehicle, but it’s not a reality for most kids. For most families, the best option is to let your child have their own, older used vehicle.
Why not let them drive your car part-time or get them a newer car? There are several reasons.
First, when your teen has their own car, it protects your primary transportation. You (and possibly your spouse or partner) need to get back and forth to work and do daily tasks. If your teen were in an accident in your everyday vehicle, you wouldn’t have anything to drive while it got fixed. This can be a huge problem for everyone in the family.
Secondly, used cars don’t cost as much. They’re less expensive to both buy and insure. This might mean that you can have liability-only coverage on the vehicle, saving you a lot of money on car insurance. Young drivers are already expensive to insure, and having a new car with comprehensive and collision coverage adds significantly to the premium.
Third, a used car can weather a few bangs and dents and still be alright. This is a reality for most driving teens since they’re not as used to the rules of the road and sometimes make bad decisions. A teen can focus on driving and not worry so much about having to keep “Mom’s car” in pristine condition.
You will want to make sure the car is new enough that it has appropriate safety features. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and anti-lock brakes became standard in all vehicles in 2012, for instance. That leaves a lot of room for you to get a safe car without buying brand new.
A teen has to take driver’s education before starting to drive, and Alabama has rules for graduated licensing that help them drive in limited situations to build their experience.
However, nothing replaces a parent-teen driving agreement. Think about what rules you want to put forward. How many friends should they have in the car at once? Do you want your teen driving at night?
Set up an agreement and review it with your teen driver. Make sure they know exactly what you expect and what the consequences will be if they break the deal. Driving is a privilege, not a right.
Be especially clear about the rules you have for cell phone use. Ideally, teens should have their phones outside of arm’s reach while driving. You might also make a rule that they must turn it off. Help them obey this rule by not texting or calling them while you know they are driving.
Driving is an important part of growing up, but so is taking care of your first car. A teen needs to learn everything from how to use a tire gauge to when the vehicle needs an oil change.
As a parent, if you don’t feel comfortable teaching these skills, consider finding a local mechanic or community college that can teach them. Maybe you can brush up on your car skills at the same time!
Here are a few of the things every driver should know:
- How to tell when a tire is damaged or flat when you’re driving
- How to change a flat tire safely, whether on the side of the road or in a parking lot
- Whether you have towing or car services as part of your insurance and how to reach them
- What each of the dashboard warning lights means
- How often to perform oil changes and tire rotation
- How to check vehicle fluids, as well as where to buy and how to fill them
- How car alignment works and how it can be affected when you run off the road or have an accident
With this information, your teen will be an informed driver and better equipped to handle maintenance issues safely and wisely.
When families find out that a teen driver is expensive, they sometimes don’t want to list them on the insurance policy. However, having appropriate insurance coverage is vital.
You would never want something to happen with your teen driver and discover you didn’t have coverage because that car or driver wasn’t on the policy. This is especially true if someone else is injured or property is damaged. If there’s no insurance coverage, you can be sued for the damages and have to pay them personally out of your savings, retirement, and more.
To make sure that your financial future is protected, you want to list every driver and vehicle on your insurance policy. The good news is that you can get affordable car insurance, even for young drivers. You just need the right company on your side.
Having your teen drive is both liberating and a bit scary. However, when you take the right steps to prepare, you can be confident that your teen driver will follow the rules of the road, make responsible decisions, and have appropriate insurance coverage if anything goes wrong.
If you’re looking for affordable car insurance in Alabama, let USAgencies help. We can give you a no-obligation quote for your family and let you know how much we can save you. Contact us for more information today!