The clock ticks. You wait, hoping he or she will text or call sooner rather than later. When it finally comes, you make the drive -- wherever it might be -- to retrieve your child.
You go because it's your duty. You brought them into this world. But as you make the pickup-drive, you say to yourself, "I cannot wait for them to have their (drivers') license and I'm free."
But as every parent knows, there is no such thing as freedom when it comes to teenage drivers.
First, it is costly. According to
Insurance aside, there are other issues in play with a new driver.
Are they ready for the rubber to meet the road? As a parent you are about to send your child into the world behind the wheel of a 2-ton bullet, what kind of a teacher were you? Did they get enough from their driver's education to prepare them for the road ahead?
After all the classes and practice sessions all you can do is hope that everyone -- child and parent -- are ready for freedom.
"I have yet to encounter a young, inexperienced driver who is not motivated to pass driver's education," said
Flaherty, a parent of teenagers, understands the angst between mom, dad and a teen -- or teens -- when it comes to driving. He knows the process of putting a newbie behind the wheel and all that comes with it.
Before you undergo a healthy emptying of your wallet, Flaherty offers a simple suggestion for all involved.
Call it "Step One."
"More carrot less stick will obviously get more results," he said. "I believe a calm and patient instructor will accomplish more with an inexperienced driver than someone who is less flexible."
In other words, relax. A high-anxiety co-pilot doesn't help a new driver establish solid footing.
One local insurance agent, a father of four, agrees.
"No teenager wants to get in an accident," said
Ferrari says there still must be ground rules:
--Respect the process
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--Don't assume anything
--Be comfortable, but never over-confident
"I have heard, 'It's not going to happen to me, way too many times,' " he said. "And then it happens to them. All that said, parents need to remember it's a car. You can replace a car. All you want is everyone to be safe."
The process, once a teen gets his or her license, is tedious as best. The decisions regarding the vehicle, such as make, model, year and insurance costs, are immediate.
Do you buy new? Can you find a dependable used auto? Have we prepared for the bump in insurance rates? What's it like with more than one child in the family?
Insurance companies look at the value of the car as new, its security features, how much and how long it will take to fix if it's damaged, and how much individual parts cost. Even fender-benders don't come cheap.
Ferrari says it's important to understand your budget and for all involved to do their due diligence. It begins with the cost of the vehicle and what type of coverage you want. He suggests coming to a decision as a family on coverage. He also suggests you shop around to find the best rate and a company that offers discounts for good driving, good grades and its willingness to stand behind its customers.
"I can't tell a family what to buy, but I'd suggest something that's not new, is dependable, reliable and easy maintenance-wise," he said of a car purchase for a freshly-minted driver. "I'd stay clear of four-wheel drive options and decide whether you want full coverage or liability policy."
Liability exists to cover the potential cost of damage you may cause to others when driving. This could be the cost of medical care for people injured in an accident or the repair cost of damage to other vehicles. Full coverage is the combination of comprehensive, collision and liability insurance.
Ferrari emphasized the importance of seeking as many driver discounts as possible. That it's important you turn over your son or daughter's grade report and seek any other good driver discounts that are offered.
"Every dollar saved is important," Ferrari said. "Those good grades can have a huge financial impact if you maintain them through college."
"Prepare for at least a dollar a day added to your policy," said Zabloudil. "And that's liability, a good student discount and a 2011 Ford Focus that will be shared by three drivers over the next three years."
She says not everything should fall in the laps of Mom and Dad.
"Kids of today are of privilege," Zabloudil added. "Whatever happened to them getting that old car, a beater if you will, that drives them to get something better, to work to get their own car and insurance? It doesn't hurt."
Ferrari says it's huge for everyone to be on the same page.
"Teenagers need to respect the process and parents have to be there during the process," he said. "It's a roll of the dice, but you can work to make everything work."
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