The day that has you feeling both excited and fearful has finally come: Your kid got their driver’s license. They now can get around without you — and you can even send them on household errands when you want without supervision.
Terrifying, isn’t it? While parents generally appreciate the fact that their teens can finally take themselves around town, they also tend to worry about what will happen once they are no longer looking over their teen’s shoulder as they drive.
A driving contract may help ease your worries — and it can definitely make your expectations regarding safe driving clear to your teenager. A driving contract sets rules that your teen has to follow on the road — and defines the penalties for failure. Some sample ideas for rules include:
- Seatbelts are required for everyone in the car — even backseat passengers.
- Exceeding the posted speed limit is never acceptable.
- Racing another car, doing stunts in a parking lot and so on is forbidden.
- If the teen makes a mistake and gets cited or warned by an officer, they need to come clean to you about the situation immediately.
- Permission to have passengers in the vehicle must be obtained in advance.
- Any accidents (even just hitting a curb with the car’s wheels) need to be discussed right away and any damage inspected and repaired.
- It is never acceptable to get behind the wheel after drinking, while under the influence of drugs or while overly tired.
- Cellphones stay off while the vehicle is in motion, and there’s never to be any texting and driving.
This kind of contract isn’t meant to be punitive — just protective. All the same, parents have to be prepared for their teenagers to make mistakes. If those mistakes result in a traffic ticket, it’s best to handle the issue promptly. After all, dealing with the consequences of a mistake is just part of growing up.