Setting Boundaries When Car Sharing With Your Teen

Young woman testing a car in a car showroom

If you are thinking of giving your new teen driver the go ahead to use the family car, it’s absolutely vital that you are prepared to set boundaries with them first. Making the boundaries clear will ensure there are no hormonal tantrums and that everybody has the car when they need it. Let’s take a look at how to do this the right way:

Make Sure Your Teen Understands The Plan

Before allowing your teen to use the car, make sure they understand the plan. Don’t assume they understand! Sit down and have a serious chat about what this is going to mean for everybody moving forward. Would you eventually buy a car for them when they have shown they can be responsible, or perhaps pass down the family car when you get a new one?  

You should also discuss filling up the car. It’s a good idea to make sure that they are able to fill up the car and that they know to do so before the car is close to running out. Make sure they know to be courteous – if they know you need to use the car in the morning and they are using it the day prior, they should top up the fuel so you can get to where you’re going. Cleaning the car should also be discussed – could this be a family job? 

Discuss Finances 

If you can give your teen some responsibility, then do it. You don’t need to ask a lot from them, but it can be a good learning curve for them to see how much a car is going to cost when they are taking care of all of the payments themselves later on down the line. They should understand fuel, insurance, maintenance, and perhaps even agree on a specific amount to contribute each month. 

Provide A Curfew 

In order for your teen to establish trust as a new driver, you could agree on a curfew to begin with. This can mean making sure they avoid accident-prone times while helping them to gain driving experience safely. You can then extend their curfew as they prove that they are a safe and responsible driver. 

Discuss Distractions

There are many distractions in the car, including passengers. Your teen might dream of hitting the highway with a car full of friends, but this isn’t a good idea until they are used to the road. Friends in the car can be one of the biggest distractions, especially for teens. Using phones while driving is a danger amongst teens, too, so see if you can set up a hands-free communication option for the car, and make sure they know that this is never ok. They will no doubt expect you to be the one to call a car accident attorney if they ended up in an accident, so make sure you emphasize this point. Try to level with them, rather than nag and lecture them. 

Help Them To Understand The Importance of Time Management

There are all kinds of things that can impact a drive. Make sure your teen knows to check the weather and roadworks, and that they know to give themselves extra time so they can avoid things like eating while driving and speeding. 


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