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10 Best Gifts for the New Teen Driver
Copyright: piksel / 123RF Stock Photo
Have a new teen driver in your life? Then we’ve got a great list that gives them the gift of increased safety, and you, their parent, the gift of peace of mind. Just kidding! I am not a doctor and cannot prescribe you Xanax. Good luck with that!
If you’re like me, you’re betting on autonomous vehicles to take over the roads before your children are old enough to be offered driver’s ed (save us, Robot Overlords!). If you’re like me and hoping for benevolent machines, but your children are already in their mid-teens and you’re looking down the barrel of one of them being legally allowed to operate a vehicle, my heart goes out to you in your time of nightmarish anxiety. Let’s pick out some gifts for the new driver in your life.
1. Roadside Emergency Kit. This is the big ticket item, and it should have all the essentials: jumper cables, tow rope, air compressor, first aid kit, and so one. This one has 90 pieces, half of which are in the first aid kid, so your teen will be well-prepared when they hit the road. You, on the other hand, should probably just have a box of wine ready to bust out because this emergency kit will do very little for your nerves.
2. Travel Blanket. Whether you live an area with severe winters or in the middle of the desert with cold nights, having a spare blanket stowed away in the car is a good idea should your child be stranded by car trouble or stuck for hours in a pileup. I like this kind of travel blanket because it rolls up so compactly and has a little carrying bag to keep it protected from back seat dog hair and chip dust. Then it will be nice and clean and ready for your sweet child to wrap themselves up in while they spend the night alone, stranded in the desert, but cozy and warm and thinking of how grateful they are for parental forethought. Don’t think about anything else the blanket can be used for.
3. Audible Subscription. Since you will not allow your teen to have the distraction and/or bad influence of friends in his or her car, get them an audiobooks subscription! Added benefit of increasing their vocabulary. They will probably get into a better college because of this. You’re the best parent ever.
4. Cute travel mug. So they don’t steal yours.
5. Hand warmers. I love these. These fall under the “Oops I’m stranded” category, but they’re good for so much more! As a woman, I’m always freezing, so I could easily carry these in my purse and use them everywhere, like, say, the movie theater in July. But your teen can use them while they wait for a tow truck. They also make these cool rechargeable hand warmers, but I haven’t tried them (yet. Obviously I will because I am a frigid, frigid woman).
6. Window Scraper/Snow Brush. Sure, you can use a credit card or your driver’s license in a pinch, but I have definitely destroyed a credit card this way. Plus your hands get really cold. Just buy the appropriate tool! It’s $10.
7. Universal Cell Phone Car Mount. It’s preferable if phones are kept completely locked up and away from a driver, but for scenarios in which GPS is necessary, at least this will keep cell phone use hands-free. This one is magnetic, but other versions attach to your windshield.
8. Window breaker/seatbelt cutter car hammer. These are basically too scary to think about, so don’t, but these things will easily break a car window if a vehicle should become submerged in water. DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. There are basic versions and other, fancier ones that incorporate extra safety features like a whistle, flashlight, beacon light, etc.
9. Cup Holder Essential Oil Diffuser. I’m sorry for bringing up submerged vehicles, so here is a totally unnecessary item that is purely for soothing fun. These ultrasonic diffusers are about the size of a travel mug, so they fit in a cup holder and are powered by USB. Get your teen an essential oil that’s purported to improve mental focus. Maybe get a diffuser for yourself and put an anti-anxiety oil blend in there.
10. Yellow Night-Driving Glasses. These are truly hideous, but part of your job as a parent is to embarrass your child. These glasses reduce glare from oncoming vehicles and streetlights, making night-driving easier. There are cuter versions, depending on your idea of cute. Your teen needs to understand that youth and good looks are fleeting, anyway.
There are a wealth of creepy tracking devices that purport to be for teaching teens to drive safely, but I’m guessing they’re actually for abusive spouses, so if you’re after one of those, please seek therapy! Therapy can also be helpful for anxiety, like if your child is suddenly allowed to operate a giant piece of machinery that can travel at speeds topping 100 mph.