How Do I Know When My Teen Is Road Ready?

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Trusting your teen to drive can be one of your biggest challenges as a parent. While you know that this milestone is necessary for your teenager’s independence, you may also worry that your teenager may become a statistic on the roadways. With more than 3000 teen drivers killed in 2010, you realize that driving can be one of the biggest threats to your child’s safety.

Even if your teenager does not get into a fatal wreck, he or she may incur speeding tickets and fines that could really put a dent in your budget. Faced with the realization that 21% of all teen drivers get into an accident in their first year of driving, along with the fact that half of all teen drivers admit to driving more than 10 miles over the speed limit, you may wonder how you can trust your teenager to drive, and gauge whether or not he or she is ready for this privilege. You can make this determination by considering several ideas.

Is Your Teen Honest?

Honesty and driving go hand-in-hand. Your teenager may not realize it, but honest is in fact one of the most important traits all teenagers should have before they are given the keys to the family car. You have to be able to trust your teen to tell the truth about his driving habits.

If you ask him if there were any other teens in the car, if they were drinking, if they were doing drugs, if your child was speeding or visiting places from which he is prohibited, you must expect honest answers.

Your child’s being honest with you could be the only way you could keep him out of danger and safeguard his future. If your teen frequently lies or hides information from you, it may not be time yet to trust your child with driving.

Does Your Teen Experiment with Drugs and Alcohol?

Determining your teen’s constant sobriety can be tricky, considering that many teenagers go to great lengths to hide their drinking and drug use from their parents. Nonetheless, if you have ever caught your teen engaging in these habits, or even if you have ever suspected him of doing so, you may hold off letting your teen drive.

Statistics show that more than 24% of all teen fatality wrecks involved teenaged drivers who were drunk or high. Many of these accidents also were caused because the inebriated teen drivers were going too fast. If you know or suspect your teen of drinking or using drugs, you are encouraged to withhold driving privileges until your child is more trustworthy and capable of avoiding these habits.

Does Your Teen Demonstrate Forethought and Good Judgment?

If you are fortunate enough to have a teenager who is careful, uses good judgment, and is capable of thinking ahead, you may allow your child to drive. These characteristics are vital for anyone who wants to avoid speeding and risking their lives while driving.

A teen who thinks ahead, uses good judgment when it comes to regulating the car’s speed, and uses caution while driving can make for a prime candidate for a good teenage driver. Teens who have yet to adopt these qualities may need more guidance before being allowed to drive.

In the event your teen does get into trouble with the law or is injured in an auto accident, make sure to hiring experienced, local legal counsel, whether this means an Orlando speeding ticket lawyer or New York DUI attorney. These types of run-ins with the law, i.e. reckless driving, speeding, DUI, can have a major effect on your teen’s life for years to come and cost you large amounts of money in fines and fees.

Trusting your teen to drive can be difficult. You can make this decision easier by considering several important tips for gauging whether or not your child is ready to drive without your supervision.

Even though freelance writer and artist Molly Pearce is now a concerned parent, she was a wild child in her teenage years and knows the negative consequences that irresponsible teen drivers often experience can last for decades for come. She writes to encourage parents to keep a watchful eye on their teens, especially when it comes to letting them get behind the wheel. Orlando speeding ticket lawyer firm, Katz & Phillips, P.A. handles hundreds of speeding and DUI citations, as well as auto accident cases, each year and many of them are for young, inexperienced drivers.


  1. This is one of the problems that I still have a few years to get ready for. However when that time comes i’ve caught myself wondering what will I have to do to keep him safe. This post most definitely helped with those questions . Thank you.

  2. I am really not ready for my kids to be driving. Of course I have several years before I have to worry about this. Sometimes it’s not only your kids you have to worry about but other crazy drivers.

  3. I had the hardest time when my oldest son got his learners permit. It is so hard to let go of them – driving gives them so much freedom and is at the same such great responsibility. Thank you for your thoughts.

  4. my teen will be driving in 2 years i am a little scared but i think she is very responsible and will do pretty well but still im not in a hurry for it

  5. the post is really helpful for all parents and teens

  6. I remember when mine were ready to drive. They may be ready but are we as parents ever ready?

  7. This is a great post for parents and for teens.

  8. I think school grades and behavior can play a big part in determining if a teen is ready to drive or not. I however, will probably NEVER be ready for my babies to be on the road!

  9. I am soooo not ready for this…we’ve got some time still.

  10. My teen would answer all of these correctly. He is definitely honest and becoming responsible, he doesn’t seem to have a desire to drive right now though so I’m good with that.

  11. I think it’s super important to know if your teen is honest with you. Great questions to ask to see if your teen is road ready.

  12. These are all good points. My oldest is 13, and he is going to have to mature a lot in the next few years for me to trust him on the road.

  13. My teen is very honest with me, so I think he would tell me honestly. He’s learning to drive now since you kind of have to in Los Angeles.

  14. Thank you so much for this post! My daughter’s turning 17 in a few months and we’re debating on getting her a car. She’s a A student, she’s reliable and she doesn’t do drugs or drink alcohol. Oh, and she ‘s very honest. I think we’ll just give her one to see how it goes, but I’m so scared.

  15. I so have to let my niece read these. She thinks that she should just run 15 and get handed keys theres’ so much more and honesty is definitely a huge factor

  16. When my kids reach driving age, which won’t be for a while, I’ll pay someone to teach them.

  17. i dont think i will ever be ready for my kids to be on the road but i do find peace in knowing im a good teacher!

  18. Great blog. Scary knowing in 3 years my daughter will be driving. Very informative info you shared. thanks.

  19. great tips, thanks for these! I’ll be dealing with a teen driver in a couple of years so I’ll have to remember these!

  20. These are good considerations to make when deciding if your teen is road ready. I think honesty is a VERY big one…it’s hard to trust someone with your car if you can’t trust them at all!

  21. My brother is old enough to drive now & it freaks me out! Luckily it’ll be some time before he actually gets behind the wheel though because I don’t think he’s quite ready.

  22. I have a 15 year old that is just starting to drive. You have some very good tips 🙂

  23. My son didn’t go for his license right away, but I felt he was ready when we did it. It was still stressful!

  24. I’m definitely not looking forward to that day!

  25. It’s scary for sure! I got in an accident on my first car drive with my sister teaching me (I hit a guardrail.) Also, 10 days after I got my “new” car, my 16 yr old birthday present, I got in another accident and it totaled my car. I accidentally pulled out in front of someone (who was speeding) and he hit my car over the rear driver’s side wheel and spun my car around. No one was seriously injured, thank God, but it was scary!

  26. It’s a very scary thing. I’m just 3 years older than my sister. When she got her license I could not help but feel nervous and terrified. Until this day, I still worry because she will always be my baby sister.

  27. I still remember learning to drive. It was so scary. I do remember though I was always better driving on the freeway than I was in residential areas.

  28. Those are really great things to think about. My kids aren’t old enough yet, but I’ll definitely want to be careful about making sure they’re responsible and ready when the time comes. Thanks!

  29. I don’t even worry about MY teen driving – she doesn’t drink or do drugs and is pretty aware and responsible. But drivers are SO bad in Miami, I worry about everyone else on the road!

  30. Great tips, I have a 16 year old and we signed her up for a course and so far she hasn’t pursued it. I’m slightly disappointed but at the same time I am not ready for her to grow up yet.

  31. Thankfully I do not have to worry about this for awhile, but my mom was always worried about other drivers when I was younger.

  32. I think this must be a very difficult decision for parents of teenagers – I’ve heard that a lot of accidents involving young drivers occur when there are other young people in the car, but once a young person has a license, that’s not something that would be easy to control. I guess it comes down to knowing your kid, as you say. One of the harder decisions for parents whose youngsters are anxious to fly the next.

  33. I had my kids take driver’s ed pretty early so that they still did over a year’s worth of driving with me and I had them do it at least 5x a week with me. It really helped me gauge their skills and watch improvement over time. I allowed them to test for their license when I knew they were good and ready. Neither of them have ever been in an accident or received a ticket. Yay!

  34. Hi Molly,

    I’m a first time visitor to Donna’s blog so I found your post very interesting. I don’t have children and both of my nieces and nephews have been driving for a number of years now so I guess I’m just blessed that for the most part they’ve been very responsible with their driving.

    Now one of my nephews has had his share of accidents and just not paying attention so I think sometimes that’s what it takes for them to understand just how dangerous it can be out there on the road. Not that I want anyone to have an accident because people can be seriously hurt but if they’re reckless in any way then sometimes that’s what it takes to scare them so that they’ll pay more attention to what they’re doing.

    Important information for anyone who has a teen getting ready to drive. I wish all those parents the best of luck.


  35. When our teens were first allowed to drive, we had a rule of no more than one friend could be along. The more friends in the car, the more distractions. Also get to know their friends. Are they on the wild side? Danger signal.

    1. Author

      That’s a great tip, Maggie! I’ll keep that one in mind for when my (now 10-year-old) turns 16.

  36. Our daughter is 17 1/2 and has no desire to get her driver’s license, and that’s just fine with this Mama. I know that the longer she waits the more mature she’ll be and less likely to be the cause of an accident.

  37. My daughter will be getting her drivers permit next month. She knows that driving is a privilege and if she gets into trouble then she will not be allowed to drive. I feel she is ready to learn. I think the biggest problem with teen drivers these days is cell phone distraction, something I never had to worry about when I was learning to drive.

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