Driving is a Privilege, Not a Right
Think of a 16-year-old you know. Now visualize that teen driving unsupervised, at night, and on a busy highway. Also keep in mind that teen drivers account for the largest number of car accidents. Scary, isn’t it?
Just because your teen is 16, it doesn’t mean he is ready for his license. On his 16th birthday, something magical does not occur that makes him a responsible and capable driver.
Turning 16 is not the criteria for deserving a driver’s license. Instead, your teen must prove himself on many occasions and in many situations that he is ready to be behind the wheel on his own.
Driving is a huge responsibility that must be learned in steps and practiced over and over.
As soon as your teen turns 16, he will annoy you on a daily basis to get his driver’s license. Hopefully, you and your teen have been spending a lot of time practicing prior to his 16th birthday. If not, then get out there and practice! He’ll never be ready if you both don’t put in the time and effort.
Most states have a graduated driver’s license (GDL) program. This means your teen is required to spend time learning how to drive with a licensed driver and he gradually earns more independent driving privileges prior to getting his own full driver’s license.
A common structure for a graduated driver’s license is getting a learner’s permit at age 15, qualifying for an intermediate license while 16-18, and then being eligible for a full driver’s license at age 18. Depending upon your state, the qualifications, procedures, and restrictions will vary. Check with your state’s DMV for details.
While your teen might find these limitations aggravating, you will be more confident in your teen’s driving since he has spent time under the supervision of an experienced driver.
In some states, a teen can go to the DMV and earn a driver’s license without parental consent. Sounds great to an excited 16-year-old, but not so great for the nervous parent!
The best way to avoid an epic showdown with your teen is to explain your intentions as soon as you begin practicing. Explain to your teen that they will not be allowed to get a license until he convinces you that he is ready. You don’t want to spring this information on the eve of his 16th birthday.
Simply explain that you’re worried and nervous about their safety. If both you and your child spend the necessary time together to learn how to drive, there’s no reason they can’t get their license on their 16th birthday.
Photo source: http://flickr.com/photos/dave_traynor/