Celebrate your new driver’s achievement with these top car gifts. Perfect for teenage drivers and new drivers of all ages.
Across the world, getting a driver’s license is a cause for celebration. To help commemorate the occasion, we bounced ideas around the office and searched the web to find you the best gifts for new drivers.
The Best Gifts for New Drivers
Nothing is more paramount than the safety of your family and friends. Along with that, new drivers will appreciate accessories that make driving safer and more convenient, like being able to listen to their favorite songs or sip on their favorite drink while on the go. We’ve covered a wide range of gifts for new drivers that will give them everything they need to customize their car to their liking while keeping their attention on the road.
In this buying guide, we’ve outlined the 10 best gifts for new drivers. With each product, we’ve highlighted everything you need to know to make an informed purchase. Let’s look at some gift options that’ll enliven a new driver’s day without further ado!
Gone are the days of CDs, cassettes, and 8-track tapes. Enter the digital world where music and podcasts are streamed or played on smartphones. The Alpine iLX-W650 ($400) will play and stream your teen driver’s favorite tracks at ear-splitting levels from an Apple or Android device.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration means quick access to approved apps on your phone, such as Spotify, Pandora, and Facebook Messenger — to name a few — by using the 7-inch capacitive touchscreen. For a hands-free experience, tap the voice button to make phone calls or ask for turn-by-turn directions from your favorite navigation app (such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze).
This receiver isn’t a one-trick pony. Built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity, SiriusXM, and two camera inputs expand the receiver’s capabilities. You could add video from a dashcam and backup camera if the vehicle doesn’t have those features.
No external amp is needed since the head unit already has 50 watts per channel. Undeniably, installing Alpine’s digital receiver is an excellent way of getting modern tech into an older car.
Teen Defensive Driving Class
Making sure teenage drivers feel well-prepared is extremely important. Building confidence by enrolling in a teen defensive driving class is a terrific way of advancing elementary skills. Traditional driving classes barely prepare a young driver, but a defensive driving course can be one of the most important steps to staying safe on the road and driving with more poise.
A typical program focuses on proper steering technique, skid control and recovery, emergency braking, accident avoidance under braking, and emergency lane changes at speed. Students are put through behind-the-wheel exercises to practice the concepts learned in the classroom.
Without question, the best defensive-driving training comes from the experience of driving real cars under the care of expert instructors. Hands-on instruction results in the greatest improvement in skills for anyone of any age but, most critically, new drivers.
Check the calendars for dates and locations for B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe), Tire Rack Street Survival Teen Driving School, and BMW Teen Driving School. Another avenue is established racing schools, such as the Skip Barber Racing School, which also offer accomplished teen-driver training.
It’s never been easier to jam along with your favorite music in any car, thanks to the car stereo’s auxiliary input. Seeing as not everyone has Bluetooth wireless hands-free calling in their car, this tiny device helps bridge the technology gap. And, as a new driver, streaming from the playlist on your smartphone is a must. Along with Bluetooth music capabilities, this tiny device also has a built-in speakerphone for hands-free calls.
The JOYROOM Bluetooth 5.3 receiver is compatible with stereos in cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, or anything with an auxiliary port. Its Bluetooth capabilities work great for hands-free music, navigation, and calling — all while keeping your new driver focused on the road ahead.
This small device packs a punch with an enhanced microphone, noise cancellation, and exquisite audio quality. If you’re searching for gifts that a teenage driver might like, you can bet this one will be a hit.
A dash camera is an ideal gadget for keeping people honest — and that goes for new drivers, too. The highly rated Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 ($130) can record potential accidents for optimal safety in the daylight and after sundown by applying its super night vision capability — all in HDR (1080p) resolution!
Use it to capture memories of your new driver’s scenic long drives and track the driving route via the built-in GPS and speed tracking. The Garmin Drive app, available for iOS or Android mobile smartphones, allows real-time viewing of the action, downloading, changing settings, and editing videos.
Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enable easy sharing with mobile devices. Saved memories upload to a secure online vault to share and view later when connecting the Mini 2 dashcam to Wi-Fi.
This single device can also help with a new driver’s confidence, especially when moving the car in reverse. Garmin has a neat feature where you can connect up to four dash cams if you want views from different angles.
And the setup for the camera couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is attach this cam using the included suction mount onto either the windshield or dashboard. Once the car is turned on, the camera will automatically start recording.
Remember to purchase a 128GB microSD memory card, which does not come with the dashcam kit.
Whether it’s on a 15-minute drive to school or a long road trip, your new driver will appreciate having their favorite beverage stay cold (or hot) for hours. There is no more practical multipurpose gift than a quality hydration vessel.
These insulated tumblers ($22) from Simple Modern come in nearly every color and pattern imaginable. Each tumbler comes with two lid options — a lid that fits a straw or a flip lid. Best of all, the entire tumbler is dishwasher safe.
You can choose from tumbler sizes ranging from 12 to 28 ounces. And, you can get the color or pattern that the new driver in your life will love the most, from a simple and sleek black to a green pine tree design.
The tumblers fit regular-sized cupholders. They’re durable and easy to grip, making them one of the best gifts for new drivers looking for a way to stay hydrated while on the go.
It should go without saying that having an emergency road kit is a must for any driver, but it is especially important for a new driver. While we hope that your teenage driver never has to use any of the practical items in this emergency kit from AAA, it’s always best to be prepared.
This is especially true when your teenage driver is out on the roads this winter. It’s also a good idea to carry a set of tire chains.
This Lifeline kit ($45) comes in a convenient and compact carrying case. In it, there are 42 pieces, including the following:
- Sting relief pad
- 3 antiseptic towelettes
- 15 bandages
- Accident form and guide
- AAA membership brochure
- Booster cables
- Aluminum flashlight
- 3 batteries
- Emergency poncho
- Orange safety vest
- Roll of duct tape
- 2-in-1 screwdriver
- Shop cloth
- 4 cable ties
- Reusable zipper-lock bag
Minimizing distracted driving with hands-free devices is incredibly important whether you’re a new driver or a seasoned veteran. With a wireless charging cradle, your new driver can charge their phone and place it in a location where the eyes don’t stray too far from viewing what’s ahead.
iOttie is an excellent company that specializes in different mounting devices. There are a number of options (from $45) for mounting, depending on your new driver’s preference.
There’s a model that mounts in the cupholder, on the dashboard, or attaches to the air vent. The mount arms automatically open, custom-fitting to the size of their phone. Remove the cellphone by pressing the side button that releases the arms.
The device is Qi-certified so that the phone will charge safely and efficiently. The arm on the dashboard mount extends to allow pivoting the phone up to 225 degrees for optimal visibility. As interior design varies from car to car, the base of the cupholder-compatible version will contract and expand to fit most cupholders.
The iOttie Auto-Sense car charger comes with a thin reflective film for the back of its phone case. This film allows the charger’s proximity sensor to register the phone and open and close the mount. Best of all, the internal battery in this charger stays charged even after it’s unplugged for added convenience. This charger is compatible with most smartphones.
Unforeseen circumstances are the norm when hitting the road. Having a portable jumpstarter and tire inflator in the car at all times is an invaluable tool that’s affordable and can you get out of a pickle.
This version’s compact design and safety protection features take away the uncertainty about hooking jumper cables from one vehicle to another. Using this portable jump box, anyone can readily jumpstart most passenger cars, vans, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.
The Samaraiuno portable jump ($110) also serves as an on-the-go power bank that is useful for charging laptops, smartphones, tablets, or other USB devices. The built-in LED light is handy when you need it.
The 300-lumen flashlight also has strobe and SOS modes for added visibility in emergency situations. The bonus is the integrated air compressor that is faster than most and able to inflate larger tires in a jiffy.
Gifting this lithium-powered portable jumpstarter will also give you peace of mind. The jumpstarter is built for safety with reverse connection, overcurrent, short circuit, and reverse-charge protection. As an added safety measure, the unit won’t power on unless it is correctly attached to the battery.
One of my favorite luxury features is a heated steering wheel. However, new drivers that don’t have this posh detail have to settle for wearing gloves this winter.
The North Face Etip gloves ($45), made from recycled weather-resistant knit, are ideal for driving. They have a silicon grip to prevent hands from slipping off the wheel, and the Etip functionality gives you five-finger touchscreen capability.
The North Face takes a serious approach when creating gloves. They use five measurements to build a consistent fit that matches the hand’s natural curvature. A cozy fleece liner and the breathable outer layer will keep your hands warm but not sweaty this winter.
If your new driver is lucky enough to get their very first car along with their license or if they are just borrowing yours, now is a great time to teach them how to keep their car in top condition.
Knowing how to wash a car will keep their new ride looking fabulous. As a new driver, everything is exciting — even washing a car. The Complete Car Care Kit ($111) from Meguiar’s will have everything they need, and then some, to make their car shine.
The kit comes with 12 products. Meguiar’s is well known for selling some of the best quality car cleaning supplies that money can buy. In addition to the cleaning supplies, the kit also comes with microfiber cloths and applicator pads to get the best clean possible.
These products work for everyday maintenance as well as deep cleaning. In turn, this set is a great gift for new drivers who take pride in driving a sparkling, clean car.
Bonus: Gift Coupons to a Local Carwash
On those days when getting out the hose and bucket to wash the car seems like a chore, present your new driver with a gift card to a local carwash. If you’re in a generous mood, create a personal coupon that’s redeemable for a thorough cleaning by yourself or someone in the household.
Set the New Driver in Your Life Up for Sucess
Getting a driver’s license is a big milestone — with it comes freedom, responsibility and, with any luck, a lifelong love of cars. With these thoughtful gifts for new drivers, you can help make sure that your teenage driver is feeling safe, confident, and ready to head out on the road.
Looking for new gift ideas? Here you go: