The Summer Road Trip

Summertime sparks the end of the dreaded school year, with children and teens nation-wide cheering. The longer days and warmer weather beckon families to come out and enjoy the sunlight and outdoors. Its time for the summer road trip. Trips are planned with destinations like the ocean, the lake, the mountains or the desert. Life just seems to be better when it’s summer.

Like many families, you may be planning a short (or long) road trip. Visiting family, a campground, or even a place you’ve always wanted to, turns from discussion to planning. You might have this as the annual outing for the family, but this year is slightly different. Now you have a permitted, or even newly licensed driver in your car. So, do you let this new driver participate in driving on the family road trip?

First off, you need to know the state driving laws of the places you will be visiting. If you have a driver with a permit and not a license, states may have differing laws regarding driving restrictions. Know the laws before you head out, especially traveling cross country. Knowing these laws will help you avoid breaking them and getting a citation.

For the newly licensed, this is a fantastic opportunity for your son or daughter to get more driving hours and experience. Long, open stretches of road will let your child really get to know the road and the vehicle. This extra practice will help them be more confident drivers. Confident drivers are safer drivers.

For the parent, this means an extra driver to share the load. Getting tired and need a short nap? Letting your licensed teen drive means no, one driver has to do all the driving. Naps and even snack breaks can be taken, and the trip becomes much less tiresome. A word or caution: if traveling with a permitted driver a parent should be awake and aware at all times. Permit drivers are still learning and may need a little extra help and coaching.

Taking the family on a summer road trip and letting your driving teen participate not only builds confidence, it can also build memories. Now your son or daughter isn’t just a passenger, but a fully participating member of the trip. While parents may shed a tear for the days past, a bright future is in store for your young driver.

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