Wednesday 26 August 2015

How To Help Your Teen Get On The Road

Driving Test from Shutterstock

Driving is a rite of passage for most teenagers and a key life skill to learn. It can be fraught if not handled properly and, of course, there’s a price tag attached. Each stage needs negotiating carefully and there are plenty of ways that a parent can guide a teen in the right direction. Heres how you can help:

Learning to drive
This usually takes the form of lessons from a reputable driving instructor interspersed with further sessions - perhaps with yourself supervising your offspring as they practise what they’ve been taught.

Finding a suitable driving instructor is important, so research carefully. Ask around for recommendations – feedback from others can be invaluable.

If you can, provide a good foundation before lessons begin. It’s possible to run through the basic operations of a car with your child before they begin with an instructor. Having this basic knowledge in the bag can save time when it comes to paid-for sessions and help them hit the ground running.

If you think you’d find it difficult to stay calm while your teenager wrestles with clutch control and roundabouts, then you’d be doing them no favours. It may be better to ask a responsible friend or relative to help out. A clam, experienced granddad can be worth his weight in gold.

The driving theory test
A driving theory test is a vital part of the learning process – it’s one thing mastering clutch control but if your teen doesn’t understand signs and the laws of the road they’ll be all at sea. This also offers a way in which you can help too.

Test your teen on their Highway Code knowledge and direct them to online resources where they can take mock tests just like the real thing. Don your metaphorical examiners hat to help and spend time revising parts of the theory that they find hardest to grasp – you might even brush up on some rusty bits of your own knowledge too.

The car
Whether your teen uses a family car or has their own, insurance will be a significant (and probably costly) factor.

Using a family car: it’s fine to add them to your insurance policy but it’s likely to cost extra to add them, and they won’t be building up their own no claims bonus.

Using their own car: if it’s their car and they’re the main driver, then they need their own insurance policy. Don’t be tempted to insure it in your name and add them as a named driver - this is known as ‘fronting’ and is illegal.

You could be added as a second driver, which could bring the premium down. Try investigating young driver insurance specialists and comparison sites. Shopping around could make a huge difference.

Buying a car
Clearly something as inexpensive to run and insure as possible is desired, unless money is no object. If you’re helping financially, it’s important to set a budget everyone agrees on, and choose accordingly. Buying a car, especially a first one, might be exciting but it’s important to stay level headed and show your teen the value of making a well-researched financial decision.

If buying used, even from a reputable dealer, observe the following:

   Have it checked over by a knowledgeable friend or organise an AA inspection or similar
   Make sure it’s a car your teen can live with day to day
   Check it hasn’t been modified - this can bump up insurance premiums
   Check running costs - especially insurance
   Be sure it falls within your set budget (maybe you can negotiate the price down)

I hope you find the advise here useful and all the best to your teen who is about to embark on this exciting journey.

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