The 17 Positively Essential Gifts For New Drivers

November 13, 2021

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It’s a long road. The learner’s permit, the months of learning to drive while the parents grip the doorhandle and pump the invisible brakes on the passenger side, the driver’s ed course and tests, the actual road test at the DMV. It’s a lot. And if you are reading this article, it is over or almost over. Congratulations! Time to think about some gifts for new drivers to celebrate this milestone.


This article is one of our multi-part series Behind The Wheel – The Complete Guide To Teen Driving. Other articles include (those not linked are in production and coming soon):

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Below you’ll find some very essential and practical gifts for new drivers. Gifts that protect them and make their cars safer. Car accessories gifts, gifts to organize, clean and decorate their cars, and even gifts to make their eventual passengers more comfortable.

Top Picks For Personal Safety And Security

1. Car Jump Start And Portable Power Bank – This is my absolute favorite gift idea. And it isn’t just for new drivers – you’ll want to have this in each car in your household. This little but powerful 3″x5″ battery pack jumpstarts a car. It comes with the jumper cables and everything. But in addition to being able to jump-start your car yourself and from anywhere, this handy device also:
* Built-in ultra-bright flashlight OR strobe light OR hazard light for emergency roadside situations
* USB ports to charge phones and devices – will charge an iPhone up to 4 times
* Smart jumper cables protect from over-charging, sparks and short circuits
* You can charge it in your car or at home

2. Dash Cams – This is probably the most important gift for a new driver. So important that there will be an entire article on why teen drivers, and also senior drivers, need the protection of front and rear dashcam cameras. Staged accidents (accident fraud), bullying by other drivers and the nervous inability to defend themselves on the spot lead to far too many teens and senior citizens being blamed and cited for situations that were not their fault.

Tire Safety CAR GIFTS

Tire maintenance is crucial for both safety and cost savings. According to the NHTSA, there were 612 fatalities in 2019 as a result of tire-related crashes. In addition to safety, properly inflated tires can save as much as 11 cents per gallon on fuel, yet only 19 percent of consumers properly inflate their tires. Teach your children as soon as they start driving to regularly check tire pressure and tire tread.

Digital Tire Pressure Gauge

3. Digital Tire Pressure Gauge – Other than analog clocks and rotary phones, the other complicated device for a teen to read is an old-school tire pressure gauge. Choose digital for your teen, and teach them to check their tire pressure regularly, preferably once per month. Everyone in our family has one of these in their glove compartment now.

4. Tire Pump/Air Compressor – Step up a notch from the digital tire pressure gauge and help your teen not only be sure the tires are at the correct pressure but give them the ability to fill them without having to leave home. The close-up picture makes it look big, but at only about 10″x6″ and a little over 2lbs, it is easily kept in the trunk.

5. Digital Tread Depth Gauge – I remember my parents teaching me to measure my tire treads with a penny and how much you could see of Lincoln’s head. But even as an adult with kids, I still didn’t pay attention. Until I spun out and totaled my SUV while driving on slick roads. The police officer at the scene told me the accident could likely have been avoided had my tires not been so worn down. Luckily, I was alone in the car and was ok except for a fat lip from the airbag.

Digital Tire Tread Depth Gauge

Cold Weather CAR GIFTS FOR NEW DRIVERS

6. Ice Scraper and Brush – One of the nice things about this one is that the brush and scraper can be disconnected so that your teen can have a passenger help out. This one is 27″ and suitable for a sedan, but if you are dealing with a larger vehicle, see the extendable versions below. Note that the price may be lower depending on the color you choose.

7. Extendable Ice Scraper and Brush For Trucks and SUVs – Available in medium (36-47″) and large (51-62″), these equally hearty tools will help with clearing those large and harder to reach windshields. Note that the price may be lower depending on the color you choose.

8. Warm Waterproof Blanket – Just in case there is a prolonged period where the car must be off in cold weather, it is always a good idea to keep a warm blanket in the car. In addition to protection from the cold, a waterproof blanket is great to have if you a) come across a lost muddy puppy on the side of the road and want to protect your seats, b) make an unplanned trip to the beach or park for a picnic or stargazing, c) just realize it’s going to be cold and rainy at the football game after you’ve left for the game.

CAR GIFTS TO PROTECT YOUR CAR AND DRIVER

9. First Aid Kit – You can put together something yourself from various items you have at home, or you can order a premade kit made to fit in a glove compartment. Small bag to make your own first aid kit. It isn’t a bad thing for your child to be the one with Band-Aids in the car!

10. Cargo Liners – If your child’s car does not have a rubber/easily cleaned cargo mat in the trunk, you might want to consider it. My sports gear lugging kids with muddy cleats and filthy pants definitely needed these. You can check with your local car dealership for pricing, or you can order a custom mat from Weathertech. I just did a quick price comparison for my son’s Mazda CX-5. Mazda sells these for $69.95, and Weathertech is $119.95 for this particular car.

11. Custom Car Cover – Will your teen’s car have a long sit outside parked at college but not really being driven? Parked in your driveway while away for college? Consider a car cover to protect it.

DECORATED AND ORGANIZED CAR GIFTS

12. License Plate Frame or Front Plate For Their Favorite Team – Choose from a frame around the back license plate or a cover for the front license plate.

13. Complete Car Care Kit – More than just a car wash, this kit has everything your teen needs to completely detail his or her car (or yours!). The whole kit for a lot less than one professional detail with the added benefit of the teen wanting to keep the car clean and decluttered after working hard to make it shine.

14. Trunk Organizer – We’ve covered a lot of gifts for new drivers on this page that simply won’t all fit in the glove compartment. Help your teen get organized and load up the things they need to keep in their car in this one organizer to keep it out of the way and safely in the car.

CAR GIFTS TO MAKE YOUR PASSENGERS HAPPY

15. Multiple USB Charger – You know how it goes. Someone hops in the backseat of your car and before their seatbelt is buckled, they’re asking if you have a phone charger you aren’t using. Show how positively squared away you are with this very affordable dual zone 4-port USB car charger.

16. Long iPhone Charging Cable – If you already have enough USB ports in the front of the car, bring a smile to your backseat passengers because they can still use their phone even when it is plugged in up front. Prefer Android? 3 Pack 10′ Android charging cables.

17. Car Charger Heated Blanket – On a long road trip, often keeping it a little cooler in the car helps keep the driver alert. Help out your chilly passenger with a heated throw blanket that plugs into the car lighter and keeps them warm.

One Last Idea

As of late 2021, gas has become incredibly expensive, and especially so for new drivers who have part-time hourly jobs if a job at all. A gift for a new driver that will always be appreciated is a gift card to a gas station. Make sure you know which gas station brand the new driver will visit most frequently. Also be sure that the card does not reduce its value over time as kids may take a while to use up the value on the card.

NEED MORE IDEAS DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON?

If you’re reading this during the holiday season, don’t miss our 50 Thoughtful Stocking Stuffer Ideas for College Students and Older Teens.

If you have other suggestions for new driver gifts, please share them in the comments below. Thank you!

I would love it if you would share this post with friends or on social media. Thank you!

Important Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a lawyer or a financial advisor. Please use this content as informational only and as only one input as you consider what options are best for you and your family. This is not professional advice.

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2 Comments

  1. Jenn

    Super handy list! We will have several new drivers over the next couple of years, so I will save this list for later.

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth Brown

    I give them a pop out cube with lid. I fill it with things that they might want while out: lint roller, scrunchies, brush, Chapstick, gum, travel sewing kit, travel first aid kit, frisbee, deck of cards, reusable straw, plastic silverware, collapsible dog water bowl, emergency snack foods, ice scraper, beanie hat & cotton gloves, bug spray, sunscreen, Handwarmers, 2 garbage bags, 2 Ziploc bags Dollar store size tylanol & ibuprofen, Benadryl, purse pack tissues, travel size of their favorite Bath and body Works spray/lotion, hand sanitizer stain removing wipes, socks, a T-shirt, Instant ice pack, small makeup bag with feminine care products & package of diaper wipes, A roll of quarters, small pad of paper/sticky notes & a pen, A roll of electrical tape, breath mints/ breath strips, sunglasses, A bar mop style towel, Tire gauge, and a cheap fleece blanket. I also give them a picnic blanket that is waterproof. an umbrella and a snow brush are also essentials.

    Reply

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