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FAQ on Au Pairs Driving in the U.S.
Many of EurAupair's host families will need their au pair to drive while in the U.S.; whether it's taking the children to appointments, to or from school, or to after-school activities. Driving in America is obviously different from many other parts of the world. Although all au pairs have a driver's license from their home countries, each will have different driving experiences and comfort lever. This article will help answer some of the host families' most common questions regarding au pairs driving in the US.
Au Pair Driving Background
While all au pairs have a driver's license from their home countries (and most will have an international driver's license), their experience driving will vary and, if this is important to you, you will need to discuss your driving needs with au pairs during the interviewing process. Some will have been recently licensed in their home countries, while others have been driving for years. Some may have never seen snow - let alone driven in snow! - some will be used to harsh weather conditions. Each country has different regulations and driving exams in place in order to obtain a driver's license. You can learn more about the driving exams and requirements in each country listed there. For instance, in South Africa one has to get a learner’s permit (usually at age 17) and drive for a year before obtaining an actual driver's license. Driving lessons and driving around with the learner's permit for a year is required before taking the actual driver's test. It also happens that driver's test appointments cannot be made for several months. So by the time one actually gets a driver's licence in South Africa, they may have had a year or two of driving experience. As another example, owning a car in China is not as usual as owning one in America, so although your au pair from China has obtained her driver's license, she may not have had the chance to practice much. Because of this, it's important you assess the au pairs' driving levels and make sure they are aware of the type of driving that will be expected during the year.
Assessing the Au Pairs' Driving Skills
Here are some questions you may want to ask au pairs you interview regarding to their driving history.
• How long have the au pairs had their driver's license, and how often do they drive ? Have they had a learner's permit before getting their licenses?
• What type of vehicles have they driven in the past?
• What type of weather conditions are they used to?
• Do they have experience in rural areas, city roads, or highways?
• What side of the road are they to driving on?
Adjusting to Driving in the U.S.
Once in the U.S., your au pair should obtain a state driver's license as soon as possible - as your auto insurance and state law may not allow her to stay on a foreign or international license, or only for a short period of time. You will want to show your au pair how to drive an automatic car, what are the basic state traffic laws (right turn on red, stopping for school bus, pedestrian crossing, etc.), and it would be good for you to be with her when she practices on familiar roads (from home to the children's school, to their after-school activities, etc.). If you have young children, make sure you show your au pair how to use the car seats.