Teenagers can be a lot. And if you’ve got a teen driver on your hands, you’re probably very nervous. And that is totally understandable. Teens aren’t exactly known for their ability to make responsible decisions. So, what’s a parent to do when their teenager is about to get their license? You can take the time to create a driving contract with your teenager. Here are a few tips to give you a place to start with your parent-teen driving contract.
What is a teen driving contract?
The parent-teen driver contract is a set of guidelines and rules that the driver has to follow. It also gives consequences if those rules are broken. Basically, it outlines your expectations for the teen driver and it also makes sure that everyone is on the same page with both the rules and what would happen if those rules are not followed. It’s an agreement between the teen driver and the parent.
Tips for your parent-teen driving contract.
1. Convey the seriousness of driving.
The driving agreement is meant to convey that driving is a very serious responsibility. The contract makes sure that your teen knows that driving is a privilege. They need to understand that they need to be very careful behind the wheel. Driving isn’t just a convenience or a new, fun thing. It’s a big deal, one that needs to be taken seriously.
2. Clarify the rules and the consequences.
You also need to be sure your rules and consequences are written clearly. There should be little “wiggle room” or room for interpretation. Everything needs to be laid out properly, including the consequences or punishments that you establish for breaking the rules. Then the trick becomes actually sticking to these agreed-upon punishments. The rules and consequences need to be upheld.
3. Have both parent and teen sign the contract.
It’s important to open a discussion about safe driving and the guidelines. Talk about what rules are safe and fair, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Go over it together and make sure it’s something that everyone is comfortable signing. (But remember – you are the parent in the situation!) One of the goals of the contract is to get rid of any confusion concerning the driving rules and to get everyone in agreement – with signatures to prove it.
4. Make sure to include the important stuff.
When outlining your contract, make sure to look at Georgia’s laws. These can be the basis of your contract, but of course, as a parent, you may want to add your own rules that make sense for your teen and your situation. Here are some areas to look at and establish rules for:
- Curfew (Remember Georgia law)
- Where the teen is allowed to drive
- Establish rules about cellphone use, music use, etc. (Again, remember to look at GA’s laws, including the Hands-free law)
- Seatbelt use
- What happens if the teen gets a ticket (i.e. speeding) or fine
- What happens if the teen drinks and drives
- The number of passengers they can drive (again, be aware of Georgia’s laws and the graduated licensing system)
- What happens if any part of the contract is broken
It’s important to cover all the bases when you create your teen-parent driver contract. There are a lot of areas about driving that your teen needs to be aware of. The goal isn’t to scare your teen or make them feel overwhelmed with rules, but to encourage them to make good decisions and drive safely.
5. Remember that the rules can change.
Remember that you can adjust and relax some of the rules that you set as time passes. (Not the laws, of course, but the other rules.) As your teenager gets more practice in and grows up a bit, you can loosen your rules. You can evaluate as you go – maybe you can give your teen some more freedom, contingent on their good behavior. Remember to readjust the contract and consequences accordingly. You can let your teen know that they will be trusted with more when that trust is earned.
You also need to make sure that your teen is properly insured. You might be a bit afraid of the insurance rates. (You’ve heard the rumors of teen car insurance being extremely expensive.) We would be happy to help you get teen car insurance to protect your young driver. Get started with your car insurance quote by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat. Our team likes to make insurance easy.