Having a newly minted driver in your household is equal parts exciting and terrifying. Having a contract that outlines expectations and limits can help. There are plenty of teen driving contracts available through reputable online sources such as the CDC, AAA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others. But one size may not fit all, so you might opt to create your own version.
If you write your own teen driving contract, avoid legalese words like “shall, heretofore,” etc. Make it clear and straightforward. Know your teen’s weak spots as a driver. Maybe they tend to daydream or they punch the gas —each driver is different, and you can tailor the contract to them.
SOME BASICS TO INCLUDE:
I, your teen driver, promise to:
Obey all the rules of the road, including all traffic lights, stop signs, speed limits, etc.
Always wear a seatbelt and make all my passengers do the same.
Drive safely and appropriately for the current conditions.
I promise to:
Never text, look at my phone or talk on the phone while driving — that includes the use of hands-free devices.
Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or ride with a driver who is. Ever.
Never use the car to race or to try to impress others.
Never use headphones or earbuds to listen to music while I drive.
Drive with both hands on the wheel, and only when I am alert and in emotional control.
Call my parents for a ride if I am impaired in any way that interferes with my ability to drive safely, or if my driver is impaired in any way.
Not drive if I am too tired or sleepy.
Drive only when I have permission to use the car, and tell my parents where I’m going.
Consider other expectations & penalties
You may want to create a section that covers your expectations for the privilege of driving, like school grades, curfews, family responsibilities, etc. If you want your teen to contribute to the cost of gas or insurance, include that as well. If your child violates the rules of your contract, or has a traffic citation, you might write in what penalties will be in place such as not being able to use the car for a length of time.
The latest safety features
It’s more than just anti-lock brakes and airbags nowadays, as car safety technology keeps improving. When shopping for vehicles with teen drivers in mind, look for:
Collision warning systems: an alarm that alerts the driver to a possible impact.
Stability control: keeps the car in the same direction as the steering wheel, which is helpful in poor weather.
Blind spot detection: for all those hard to see spaces.
Dynamic emergency braking: if the car’s sensors detect an imminent crash, it automatically applies the brakes.
Lane departure warning: visual or sound warnings that the vehicle is drifting.
Rearview camera: because pedestrians, pets, objects, other cars…
Facial recognition software: detects and alerts if a driver is looking away from the road (like at their phone).
Adaptive headlights: they swivel with the steering wheel to better see around turns and curves.
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Meet Laura Augustine
Laura Augustine has worked as a finance assistant at Capitol Auto Group for 7 years. She is the proud mom of three kids (four, if you count her husband Chad): Ariel, age 23; Claudia, age 22; and Bryson, age 18. As a family, they love to go fishing and boating at Detroit Lake, and they also have four Saint Bernard Dogs: Grace, Ted, Jerry and Stuart.