Many host families want to know if their au pair can drive their children to school, appointments and after school activities. The answer is yes – your au pair’s responsibilities can include driving your children to and from activities and appointments as needed. At Au Pair in America, we make sure au pairs and host families have the resources necessary for au pairs to excel at driving in the United States.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about how au pairs can drive confidently in the United States:
Do all au pairs hold a driver’s license in their home country?
Au Pair in America requires every au pair to hold a valid driver’s license in their home country. We also request that au pairs obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before leaving for the United States. Au Pair in America strongly recommends that au pairs obtain a local state driver’s license as soon as possible.
How can au pairs learn more about how to drive in the U.S. before arrival?
Au Pair in America offers our au pairs resources to prepare for driving in the United States. As part of our extensive orientation program, every au pair must complete training in safe driving, including information on American road signs, tips for driving in the winter and wet weather, and preventing distracted driving.
Can au pairs drive immediately after arrival?
Whether or not your au pair can drive immediately after arrival varies by state. In some states, the International Driving Permit (IDP) is accepted for a limited time until the au pair can obtain a local state driver’s license. Your local Community Counselor can provide guidance on the process of obtaining a driver’s license in your state. Host families should also work together with their au pair to schedule the written and road test if needed.
How can we learn more about our au pair’s experience driving?
Au Pair in America recruits au pairs from over 60 different countries, so au pairs come to the United States with a wide range of driving experiences from all over the world. Since each family’s needs differ, host families should review the au pair’s driving experience during the interview process. On the au pair’s application, you will find more detailed information about her personal driving experience. Additionally, host families can find general information about driving in a specific country on our Culture Quest page.
How can we help our au pair adjust to driving in the United States?
No matter how experienced a driver your au pair is, she will need some time to get acquainted with driving a foreign vehicle, the rules of the road and driving around your community. Host families should be prepared to help au pairs adjust to driving in a new country.
At first, have your au pair practice driving during both the day and night with a licensed driver, without children in the car. Point out landmarks around your neighborhood to help your au pair navigate the area once she is driving on her own. If your au pair will be transporting children to or from school, practice driving the route several times before she drives it alone with children. Once your au pair is comfortable, make sure to practice daytime and nighttime driving with a licensed driver with your children in the car.
It’s also important to have your au pair practice driving in wet and wintery conditions as needed with a licensed driver. When weather conditions change, make sure your au pair is prepared to drive safely – do not assume your au pair will be able to handle driving in unfamiliar weather conditions. Most importantly, never ask your au pair to drive if you don’t feel conditions are safe.
Will our au pair need formal driving lessons?
After practicing driving with your au pair, your family or your au pair may feel that some formal instruction or a professional driving assessment is needed. Reach out to your local Community Counselor to discuss options to make your au pair feel comfortable and gain confidence driving in the United States.
What if we don’t need our au pair to drive?
While au pairs can drive, it isn’t required for families to ask them to drive. Host families living in urban areas can provide au pairs with funds for taking public transportation or ride share services. Au pairs are able to accompany children to and from appointments, school and activities via public transportation.