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Letting Kids Drive Alone (Are They Ready to Drive Alone?)

If your teenage driver has lived up to the responsibilities agreed upon months ago, use this checklist to determine if they’re ready to drive solo:

  • Is your son or daughter paying attention? Are they driving or just steering the car?
  • Do they still look for controls or can they turn on the headlights without looking away?
  • Do they use turn signals regularly?
  • Do they stop appropriately at stop signs?
  • Do they drive in the center of the lane?
  • Are they aware of the traffic around them?
  • Do they automatically slow down for rain or poor lighting conditions?
  • Do they scan ahead? Are they aware of what’s going on 6 or 8 cars ahead of them?
  • Are they aware of traffic at intersections? Are they scanning the sides of the road?
  • Do you think your child has shown the maturity level you expect of someone that will drive a lethal weapon?

If you decide your child is ready to drive alone, establish a new set of house rules. Here are some suggestions:

  • No passengers during the first 6 months.
  • No driving after 9:00 p.m. Gradually add an hour after months of driving practice (remember that some states restrict night driving times for 16 and 17 year olds).
  • If your teen gets a speeding ticket or a seat belt violation citation, suspend driving privileges for 30 days.
  • If you discover your teenage driver has been drinking and driving, cut up his or her driver’s license. Remind the driver that if there’s an accident, lives MAY be lost and their lives will forever change.

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