There’s a reason why getting a driver’s license is one of the hallmarks of the high school experience. It’s one of the first times that teenagers get a taste of adulthood. It means that they’ve been tested and entrusted to navigate the roads and care for a car.
But having a car for yourself is a big responsibility for a teen. It doesn’t just affect the one who’s driving but also everyone else out on the road. So, before you make a big purchase for your son or daughter’s 16th birthday, make sure that you consider these three things first:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the second most common cause of teens’ deaths. To put it simply, seven teenagers die every day because of vehicle crashes. The chances are even higher when the teen driver has just received their license. It’s why it’s essential to have your bases covered before anything terrible happens.
Before you allow your son or daughter to drive, make sure that they know what to do in case of an accident. They should learn to contact the police even for fender benders. It’s crucial to establish who’s at fault and for insurance claims. Besides the contact information for police and ambulance, it’s also essential to have the contact details of a personal injury attorney at hand. They can help build your case to prove that you were not at fault. An attorney can also assist you with insurance claims and during trials so you can prioritize your recovery.
Short-term and Long-term Cost
Cars are convenient and practically an essential property in some areas. The downside is that owning one can be pretty expensive. Figures in 2020 show that a brand-new car fetches for almost $40,000. But the spending doesn’t end at the dealership. Nearly all the states require owners to get car insurance which costs more than $1,500 every year. Then, there’s also the maintenance that can amount to $800 annually. To put it simply, buying a vehicle for your teen is not for a family who’s trying to save money.
On the bright side, there are some ways you can ease the financial burden of car ownership. Instead of a brand new SUV or truck, consider getting a second-hand car. It can be risky because they may not have a long shelf life, but you can get a good value for your money if you do your due diligence. Contribute to the maintenance of the car. There are some things that you’ll need the services of a repair shop. But you can do your part and save money in the process.
One example is to change the engine and air filters on your own. You don’t have to be a professional to replace these parts. Consult your vehicle’s manual, look up guides on the internet, and make sure that you buy the appropriate types. You’ll end up learning a new skill and saving money along the way.
Your Teen’s Responsibilities
Owning a car is pretty great. It allows you to travel anywhere in the country without dealing with crowded and sometimes dysfunctional public transportation. But there are responsibilities that come with the benefits of car ownership. The most important is driving. It’s one thing to pass the driving test. But, it’s an entirely different thing to drive on a busy road with unpredictable pedestrians. Before you get your kid their own car, see how they navigate through the streets in person. You’ll see first-hand if they do precautionary checks, follow the signs, and go below the speed limit.
Car-related responsibilities don’t end with the quality of driving. It also includes how they take care of their car. Maintenance is crucial because it factors in the expenses and safety. For example, a simple act like making sure the tires are correctly inflated can prevent roadside crashes. So, before you give the keys to your kid, make sure they know the importance of being responsible. Have a list that they can use to do regular checks on the car. They may not like having to do so much before going on the road, but it’ll become a habit that they won’t mind as they get used to it.
When it comes to cars, you can never be too safe. It’s especially crucial if you’re giving the reins to an excited teen. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t handle the responsibilities. The important part is that they know what they should do and the repercussions of their actions. They should learn that small actions can lead to big results.