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5 things to consider before lending your car to your teen

As with anything else, use good judgment and common sense when it comes to deciding whether to allow your teen to drive your car.

Getting a driver’s license means freedom, independence, and the first step towards adulthood for most teenagers. Buying a car for your teen, on the other hand, may not be possible for all families. In some cases, parents may have to lend their car to their teens, until they’re able to afford to get their own wheels.

Keep in mind that the South African law states that to get a learner’s licence for a motor vehicle, you must be 17-years-old, or older. You need to be 18 or over to be able to obtain a driver’s license for a motor vehicle.

Here are five “check-list” items to consider before giving over your car keys (and trust) to your (old-enough-to-drive) teen:

  1. Review your insurance coverage. As an adult driver, you’re probably aware that driving without auto insurance is unlawful in South Africa. As a result, rather than insuring your teen separately, add them to your auto insurance policy to save money.
  2. Gather information by asking questions. Establishing trust with your teen driver begins with establishing a baseline of clear communication and accountability. Gather as much information as you can about your teen’s destination, facts about their passengers, departure and arrival timings. Go over some general norms and expectations with them so that they are held appropriately accountable.
  3. Keep the number of teen passengers to a minimum. According to studies on teen driving safety, the probability of a car accident increases with each teenage passenger.
  4. Perform basic vehicle maintenance. Ascertain that the vehicle itself is safe for your teen to drive. Perform a simple maintenance check on your car, including checking the levels of your tyres, windscreen wipers, lights, oil and petrol, transmission, and washer fluid.
  5. Be aware of the dangers. Understand that if your teen is involved in an “at-fault” accident, your insurance will be affected. Teenagers are considered “high-risk” drivers in general, so make sure you are financially prepared to face any potential consequences. Be aware that as a learner driver, your teen will need to be supervised by a licensed driver whenever they are driving.

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