Fun Gifts for New Drivers

By William McCoy
Young woman holding keys to a car.

Getting a driver's license is a monumental moment in every teenager's life. Many teens spend hour after hour dreaming about hitting the open road, even if it's in the family minivan with lousy gas mileage. While your teen is busy enjoying his newly acquired sense of freedom, you can add to the celebration with a gift that perfectly suits the accomplishment.

Safety First

Doting parents are often on the edge of their seats when their teen begins driving, but gifts related to road safety can help assure them of their teen's safety. An ideal gift is a roadside safety kit, which includes flares, emergency signage, a first-aid kit, shovel, whistle, flashlight and blanket. If you live in wintry climate, winter emergency essentials such as candles, hard warmers, non-perishable food items and bottles of water come in handy. A lighthearted card, in which you remind your teen you won't be paying for her speeding tickets, adds levity to these gifts.

Stick to the Basics

Every car should carry a basic selection of items that motorists occasionally need, and many of these items make ideal gifts. This list includes jumper cables, a jug or two of windshield washer fluid, a replacement set of windshield washer blades, a tire pressure gauge and map. Fun, inexpensive gifts include air fresheners or a key chain, ideally featuring something in which your teen is interested, such as a sports team's logo. Provide some fun by offering a few gift cards to fast-food restaurants, malls or movie theaters -- places your teen will likely visit with friends once driving.

Customize the Ride

Although you've stressed the importance of safety while driving countless times, a number of gifts will give your teen reason to smile when behind the wheel. A GPS device helps your teen avoid getting lost, while a customized license plate frame, steering wheel cover, floor mats or a jokey bumper sticker can make the teen's vehicle feel as though it's his own. If your teen is keen on automotive customization, a gift card to a body shop, a window-tint kit, or -- if your ears can stand it -- an aftermarket stereo system is a step in the right direction.

A Helping Hand

Your teen will soon learn the considerable expense of driving, and she might occasionally be stranded at home until her next paycheck. Ease some of the financial burden of driving by giving your teen a gift card for a gas station or vouchers for free car washes. Signing your teen up for a gas station rewards card, which often has no cost, is an added gift that can benefit your teen financially. If you live in an area with toll roads, a toll pass can prevent her from having to fumble for change at toll booths and make her feel grown up in front of her friends.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.