Are You Ready for Your Teen to Drive?

Questions to ask yourself before handing the keys to your teen driver.

teen driver questions to ask yourself Stocksy/Guille Faingold, Duet Postscriptum, Chelsea Victoria, Raymond Forbes LLC

Your teenage driver-to-be will be excited about this major milestone to come once travel restrictions are lifted.* But how will you feel? Concerned and apprehensive? Those are natural reactions—ones that won’t end when you allow your teen to begin driving.

Knowledge can help put your mind at ease, and it can help you determine whether your teen—and you—are ready for the responsibilities of driving. Here are five questions to ask yourself before you let your teen get a driver’s license:

Do you know your state’s licensing process?

In most states, teens can start working toward their driver’s license at age 15, though the minimum age for learner’s permits is anywhere from 14 to 16 nationwide. The laws where you live may have changed since you learned to drive, so check your state’s DMV website.

Are you comfortable with your teen’s decision making?

Look for signs that they understand the importance of driving and independence. When they are riding in your car, are they using a safety belt without being reminded? When they are out with friends on the weekend, are they meeting their curfew? If you answer no to questions like these, it may be a sign that your teen isn’t mature enough to handle the rules of driving.

How does your teen react when you discuss driving?

Talking with your teen about learning to drive is another good way to assess your readiness—and theirs. Are you setting a good example by avoiding distracted driving and following the rules of the road? Have you talked about the attention required to drive safely? The more issues you address early, the safer and smoother the whole process will be.

Have you determined clear terms for your teen to start driving?

Setting expectations is important for both of you. Establish points like passenger restrictions and off-limit driving times, and decide who will pay for things like insurance, tickets and gas. Determine ways to deal with distractions like music, food and phones.

AAA’s parent-teen driving agreement can help you establish rules, outline expectations and spell out consequences.

How will a new driver affect your auto insurance?

Auto insurance requirements for new drivers vary by state and insurance carrier, so talk with your insurer before your teen hits the road. In most cases, your child will be covered under your policy when driving with their learner’s permit but will need to be added to your policy once they get their driver’s license. One exception: If your teen’s car title is solely in their name, they may need their own insurance policy. If you have insurance with AAA, enrolling your teen in AAADrive could get you a discount on your policy.**

Get peace of mind with a free AAA Associate Membership

New drivers may not know how to handle bumps in the road like flat tires, dead batteries or empty gas tanks. But with AAA, teens—and parents—have help. AAA offers a free Associate Membership for your teen once they get their learner’s permit. That means they can get AAA Roadside Assistance, whether they’re driving or riding in a friend’s car.


This story was featured in the
May/June 2020 issue of AAALiving Magazine

*Note: AAA recognizes that the current health recommendations may delay or alter your child’s driving experience. We encourage parents to follow state and local travel guidelines during this challenging time.

**AAADrive insurance discount not available in Minnesota.

Coverage is subject to all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations. Discounts and savings opportunities subject to eligibility requirements. Subject to underwriting requirements. Insurance underwritten by one of the following companies: Auto Club Insurance Association, MemberSelect Insurance Company, Auto Club Group Insurance Company, Auto Club Property-Casualty Insurance Company, Auto Club South Insurance Company, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida, AAA Insurance Company, or non-affiliated insurance companies.

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