The ability to get a driver’s license is something almost every young person looks forward to. The thought of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is something many preteens and teens dream of. It’s also something that their parents worry about.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers across the country. Approximately 36 percent of teenagers who pass away due so as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. The risk is highest for young, inexperienced drivers between the ages of 16 and 19.
Even though some teenagers are legally able to get a temporary permit or even get behind the wheel, they may not be ready to. Age should not be the only factor in whether or not a child gets a driver’s license. Parents are urged to determine on their own if they feel their teenagers are mature enough to handle the responsibilities that come along with a driver’s license. Here are some behaviors to look out for.
1. Emotional Control
Teenagers’ brains are still forming. It is a scientific fact. While some teens may be mature for their age, others have an inability to control their emotions. This can be dangerous while driving, particularly if another driver maneuvers their vehicle in a way that is reckless or dangerous. Pay attention to how your teen reacts to not getting their way, to being offended, or to stress in general. If your teen cannot regulate their emotions adequately, getting behind the wheel could be dangerous.
2. Making Judgments
Is your teen able to make good judgments? Driving involves many decisions, often occurring at once. Your teen will have to determine how to maneuver, for example, in a split second. Your teenager should be able to maintain focus on their surroundings, predict the actions of others and react to those actions. If your teen likes to take risks or seems to be an adrenaline junkie, now may not be the time to allow them to drive.
3. Rules are Okay
Does your teen follow the rules at home and in school? Some teens feel that rules are okay and follow them willingly. Other teens believe that rules are for other people and look for ways to rebel. While no teenager follows all of the rules all of the time, your child should follow them the majority of the time. If you are constantly shaking your head at your teen or forever bailing them out of trouble, the privilege of driving should be taken off the table until they can show responsibility.
4. Desire to Drive
Is your teenager seeking a driving permit because they want to drive or because you want them to? It may seem hard to believe, but some teens have no desire to get behind the wheel. Have a frank discussion with your teenager and find out if they want to drive. If your child expressed fear or anxiety at the thought of learning how to drive and tells you they would prefer to wait, listen to them. It may be more convenient for you if your child is able to drive a vehicle, but you could be putting them in danger if they aren’t ready.
5. Willingness to Learn
Teenagers know everything. Ask any parent of a preteen or teen and they can tell you that’s true. Teenagers are invincible and have all of the life skills they need to be happy and productive members of society. Sadly, this isn’t the case, but try telling that to your average 15-year old. Before your child begins to learn how to drive, they need to show a willingness to learn. Learning from books, examples and experience is all a part of driving. If your teen already believes they know it all and has difficulty in taking advice from others, they may not be ready to slide behind the wheel of the family vehicle.
Teenagers, for the most part, look forward to driving just as much as their parents stress out about it. Just because a child turns 15 or 16 does not always mean they are ready to begin learning how to drive. Parents must make a conscious, educated decision about whether or not their particular child is ready to the enormous responsibility of driving a car. Parents know their children best, and evaluating their maturity can go a long way towards helping to ensure their safety on the road.
If you are involved in a car accident in West Palm Beach or the surrounding area, you have rights. If the accident was the fault of another driver, that driver may be legally liable for compensating you for medical bills, lost wages, property damage and more. Reach out to our team of experienced car accident attorneys for assistance in determining your legal rights. Your first consultation will be held at no cost to you.