This article on having a teen driver is brought to you through a partnership with Verizon. They provided a Hum-X to review as I teach my oldest child to drive. All opinions and anxiety driven comments are definitely my own!
When did I get old enough to have a teen driver at home? It’s true! My baby is now old enough to be handed the keys to a motor vehicle and allowed onto city streets. This momentous occasion is filled with excitement, trepidation, and huge doses of anxiety.
Ball of Nerves
The idea of having a teen driver is both exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. I’m thrilled at the idea of having another driver in the house to help shuttle everyone to appointments, sports practice and games, dance classes, recitals, friends’ houses, run errands, and more. At a minimum, he can drive himself to early morning practice and school.
But at the same time, it scares me to death to let him on the road. That’s my baby and with him being the oldest, I have been worried about EVERYTHING with him. I was overly cautious for the first few years and just a little overprotective. Now with three kids at home, I’m proud that I’ve been able to keep him alive and fed. This last one (food related) has been an ongoing struggle now that he is nearly 6’ tall, running long distance in track, and playing high school soccer. I can’t seem to keep enough food in the house.
When it comes to him driving, I trust him. I really do, but it’s the OTHER drivers I worry about. You know what I mean. Those drivers that you yourself yell at when you drive because they cut you off, drive too fast, run stop signs, etc. Maybe it’s just me that feels this way. Add to that the fact that statistics don’t lie. Teen drivers are statistically more likely to get into an accident due to lack of experience and skill. I can prepare him as much as possible, sign him up for driver education* (*Purchase through our affiliate links and we receive a small commission without any extra expense to you!), but when he gets on the road it’s all up to him. My (imaginary) passenger side brake pedal doesn’t work.
Should He Get His Own Car?
This was a question my husband and I debated for quite some time. Should we get him his own car, let him use one of ours, or make him buy his own? My husband and I both bought our first cars as teenagers and felt that the experience gave each of us more responsibility. Plus by buying it ourselves, we were less likely to damage the vehicle because we had earned every penny that we used to buy it. I was all for letting the boy buy his own, but my husband found a “great deal” on an older car that could be a father/son project. So the boy has been “gifted” a car that he gets to work on with his father.
Fast forward two months and this “great deal” of a car is anything but a good deal. It’s more of a “PROJECT” in all the wrong ways. It’s been one problem after another with this thing and my son isn’t mechanically inclined. He’s simply wants a car you can put gas in and go. Luckily, my husband is handy with tools and knows his way around an engine. But he’s banned from acquiring any new projects for the next 5 years.
Monitoring My Teen Driver
Even before my son got behind the wheel of a car, I was already an anxious driver. For years, I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks when driving. In the back of my mind, I’m always afraid something will happen while driving and I’ll be stranded somewhere. So luckily, my husband has been able to be the one to ride shotgun as my son learns to drive. He’s been able to help him maneuver situations and teach him to parallel park; a skill I have yet to master.
But what about when we can’t be in the car with him? That’s where the Hum-X by Verizon comes in. This device has an OBD (on board diagnostic) reader that is plugged into his car’s OBD-II port under the dash. The device monitors the car’s diagnostics and driving history. The bluetooth speaker does several things: it can be used for music and WiFi hotspot, call for roadside assistance, and will automatically send an alert if the vehicle was ever an accident.
I’ve already mentioned above how my son’s car started off as a “project.” Now it is running really well. But before it did, Hum alerted me every time the vehicle had an issue. Both in the Hum App and via email, I was immediately notified to the issue. This single feature goes a long way to calming my anxiety. In the future, I know that the system will continue to send alerts if there is a need and roadside assistance can be summoned with the push of a button via the Hum bluetooth speaker.
Hum will also do other things like provide turn by turn directions, set maintenance reminders, monitor my teen’s driving. These features give this older model car modern features without a large price tag. Hum also records driving speed, driving history, and vehicle locations. If I wanted to, I could engage the speed and boundary alerts that would email me whenever the vehicle goes outside set parameters. It would serve as my “Find Friends” app on my iPhone for his car. You can get all the tech specs and more information at verizonwireless.com
Best of all,I like the Safety Score feature. With it, I can reward his safe driving or correct any issues that may arise. Once the Hum app is installed on a mobile device, it will calculate a score based on how you drive. It takes into account speed, sharp cornering, rapid acceleration, hard braking, and other factors. I can look at that score and then provide rewards, penalties, etc. Other than being a helicopter parent, it’s the best alternative I’ve found to monitor his driving.
In the end, I have to trust that my teen is being a responsible driver. Luckily he is one of the youngest in his friend group. So he has seen his friends make driving mistakes, blow out transmissions, and more. He knows not to do XYZ and we talk often about responsibilities and consequences. Am I still an anxious mess when he drives yes! But I know that through tech like this Hum-X, that anxiety will decrease and then it will be time for my daughter to get her license.
Do you have a teen driver at home? Any tips you can share?