Driving a Friend’s Car

Now that your child has a driver’s license, you can breathe a sigh of relief. No more driving him to practices, games, and social outings. And you feel good that you did your research to assure that the car your teen is driving has a good safety record and is in good working condition.

But what happens if he is driving someone else’s car? There are many reasons that teens may get behind the wheel of a friend’s car. He may want to try out that cool new birthday present. She may end up as the designated driver when her friends decide to have a drink at the party.

It’s never a good idea for a teen to drive another person’s car without your express permission. You likely know nothing about the car itself. Does it have a good safety rating? Is it in safe condition with working brakes, tires, and seat belts? Also, your child is not familiar with a car other than the one she has been using. Research shows that driving inexperience and lack of driving skills are two of the biggest reasons that teens become involved in automobile accidents. If she’s fiddling with an unfamiliar radio or air conditioner, the likelihood of an accident is even greater.

A final reason that your teen should not be using another person’s vehicle is because not all automobile insurance companies will cover the costs of an accident if a person other than the driver named on the policy is driving. This may leave you liable for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of damage. Worse yet, the friend may not even have automobile insurance.

What To Do
Talk to your child about rules and expectations before he applies for a driver’s license. Explain the reasons that it is unwise to drive another person’s vehicle and let him know that you expect him to ask permission if there are extenuating circumstances necessitating that he drive a friend’s car.

Many parents establish a driving contract that clearly states rules and repercussions. If your teen signs a contract, he is less likely to protest that he didn’t know what behaviors were acceptable.