QOTD: At What Age Should You Let Your Kid Drive?

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
qotd at what age should you let your kid drive

Max Verstappen. He’s the youngest competitor to ever pilot a Formula 1 car around a track. At the age of 17, the young Dutchman would likely have a restricted driving licence in many countries. But, here he is, racing wheel to wheel with World Champions as he waves his FIA Super Licence in the air.

Sexist comments about women being too scared to drive in competitive racing aside, Verstappen has made a phenomenal debut in the top rung of motorsports. That should be expected. He’s been driving karts since the age of four and a half. He’s also likely been driving road cars long before he could do so legally, something a lot of us car folk probably have in common.

When I was just a sprout, my father would sometimes take me with him to work. This included long drives down logging roads to check out a stand of trees before cultivation. Being in the forestry industry takes you far away from the nearest threat of flashing cherries. It was here, at the age of eight, I was finally allowed to drive a life-sized car without sitting on someone’s lap.

That very brief experience was limited to learning how to operate a clutch without stalling, shift without grinding and also keep my eyes on the road while simultaneously performing all these other new actions my brain was attempting to comprehend. It also planted the seed for my love of driving. (Thanks Dad.)

But, if a parent did that nowadays, they’d likely get a stern talking to from the police by way of the local Helicopter Mom Association (a.k.a. PTA). Hell, you can’t even leave your child in a park unattended anymore because God forbid someone will repeatedly stab Timmy with a prison shank carved out of iPods or some other such nonsense. Put Timmy behind the wheel? Nuclear winter.

And yet I’m still here.

With that in mind, what age should a tyke be put behind the wheel – you know, for safety?

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2 of 67 comments
  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on May 07, 2015

    "Sexist comments about women being too scared to drive in competitive racing aside . . ." Yep, he really goofed up there. It's actually spatial abilities that females generally lack. Much of the difference in relative brain size between males and females is devoted to that.

  • Wayne Wayne on Mar 20, 2023

    back in 55 when I was 10 Grandpa started with 'back her out' of the garage, then on day he crawls into the passenger side and say's take her to the post office. teach them early as you can

  • Carlson Fan I think it is pretty cool & grew up with a '75 Ford window van so I can attest to their utility. $60K is a lot for any vehicle and I'm not convinced EV's are ready for prime time for a number of reasons. It would make an awesome 2nd or 3rd vehicle in a multi-car household but again the price would keep most from considering it.I agree with the other comments that those who have to have it will buy it and then sales will drop off. Offer a panel version for the commercial market, that could have possibilities.
  • Wjtinfwb Panther Black? or Black Panther? Shaped like a decade old Ford detectives sedan? Seems like an odd way to send out your marquee car...
  • Kwik_Shift Instead of blacked, how about chromed? Don't follow the herd.
  • Carlson Fan Nicest looking dash/gage cluster ever put in any PU truck. After all these years it still looks so good.
  • Wheatridger Correct me if I'm wrong, but has the widescreen digital dash usurped the space formerly occupied in every other car by an HVAC vent? I see one prominent vent well right of center, where there should be two. I rely on twin driver's side vents to warm my hands on cold mornings, and I wouldn't give that up for more screen area.