Dad, where’s my car?!

Just before I turned 18 I had a conversation with my Dad that went something like this…

Robyn: Dad, I would like a car for my 18th birthday.
(In the background Mom laughs)
Dad:    Oh really?
Robyn: Yup.
Dad:    Too bad.
(In the background Mom laughs - loudly)
Robyn: But Daaaaaaady…
Dad:    No.

And with that I walked away sulking like all good teenagers do.

But all my friends have a car…
…or at least get to drive their parents car! But alas, I was denied even that.

Peer pressure plays such a major role in the life of a teenager in MANY aspects. From drinking or smoking, to sleeping with your boyfriend to whether or not you have your own car before you've ever even touched a steering wheel.

I however was swiftly and smartly told “NO” and I just had to deal with it, and I did.

To all parents reading this right now, please realize that a good old fashioned “No” and sticking to that “No” does absolutely no harm to your teenager. None whatsoever.

But I’ll be safe!

Sure. The intentions are always good, but trust this 19 year old. They don’t stay good. Put a teenager behind the wheel of car (especially one that Mommy and Daddy are paying for) and things could get hairy.

Arrive Alive has released statistics that show just how irresponsible teenage drivers can be.

The facts about underage driving:
  • Teen drivers aged 16-19 years are four times more likely than older drivers to crash
  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed, run red lights, make illegal turns, ride with an intoxicated driver, and drive after using alcohol or drugs
  • Inexperience is the reason why these drivers are more likely to underestimate hazardous situations
  • The presence of teen passengers increases the risk of accidents by underage drivers - and the more passengers - the higher the risk
  • Accidents by underage drivers occur mostly on Friday and Saturday nights between the hours 9pm and 6am.

Scariest of all is that many of these teenagers’ parents were willingly let them drive without licenses.
The options

This is where things got scary for me, because you see, I had been very protected while growing up and all of a sudden I was done studying and was now thrown into the working world. But there was just one problem… how on earth would I get there???

Here are the options I had and so does your teen:
  • Catch a taxi
  • Catch a train
  • Find a lift club (but don’t forget the petrol)
  • Persuade the parents to drive you around
  • Get your learners, license and a vehicle within weeks (in time for work)
  • Or lastly catch the bus

I, personally, went for the last option and I found out something amazing that no teenager wants to believe – public transport is not all that bad.

Sure, you have to leave early and arrive early at work and if it’s hot it can get uncomfortable squeezed between two people who don’t believe in deodorant, but all in all it’s cheaper and gets you from point A to B.
Don’t be bullied!

So you see parents. You don’t have to be bullied (or sulked) into buying your little chick their first car. There are options, ways and means for us teenagers to survive without having our own set of wheels and you never know but you may even save your teenagers life.

Were you bought your first car as a teenager? Do you intend to buy your teen their first car?

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