The night of the prom is quickly approaching, and excitement is mounting. Whether your teen is going with a date, a mixed group or on his own, you want him to be safe getting to and from the event.
Seeing as teens are underage, there is no legal alcoholic drinking at the event. But what about the alcohol that is sneaked in or other mind-numbing substances that shouldn't be present? The excitement of the night may prove distracting or even tiring. Even if you know your child wouldn't imbibe, with whom is he traveling?
One of the fairly common methods of transportation is to rent a limo or party bus. Stretch limos and buses enable group transport and lower per-person cost. It's OK for a teen to book the limo or bus, but generally a parent or guardian needs to be present at pickup to sign the contract. The person calling to arrange the rental needs to know the exact date and times, how many people will be traveling together and how much needs to be put down as a deposit.
Although your teen may want to make his or her own arrangements, as a parent, you might want to be in contact with the company, as well, to ensure your kids won't be forgotten (company reliability) and the limo company reputation, and to know what procedures exist in an emergency (e.g., vehicle breakdown or accident). Make sure your child has made clear arrangements to collect money from any other participants. Arrangements to rent a limo or party bus should be made one to two months in advance.
Some limo companies insist on a teen-parent contract that emphasizes the teens' behavior and allows a driver to contact parents if necessary. Whether or not the company insists on a contract, parents and teens can devise their own. Organizations such as I Promise and MADD encourage such contracts if the teen is doing the driving, but contracts can also be made up about behavior and other expectations in a limo or a friend's vehicle or at the prom event itself.
Some of the points that should be clear in a contract include the non-use of alcohol, smoking or mind-altering substances during transportation or at the event. A new driver should never be responsible for the transportation of a group. If someone else is doing the driving, whether paid or as a favor, cellphone numbers of driver and passengers should be exchanged so pickup can be scheduled before and after the prom. Where possible, seat belts should be used. Elicit the promise that the driver will not text or talk on a cellphone while driving and that passengers will be considerate of the driver and not be distracting with their own cellphone usage, music or loud talking.
Be clear about the route and whether there will be any stops along the way, again before and after. How many partygoers are expected in the vehicle, and are they all going to the prom? Parent contact numbers must be available and will be used as necessary to arrange alternate transportation, to notify in case of an emergency and to report any unplanned delays.
Depending on where you live and the setting for the prom, some of the other methods to arrive at the party on time and in style might include a horse and buggy ride, a classic car or convertible (rental?), Mom or Dad driving or lending the family luxury sedan, a boat, motorcycle and sidecar, or walking (wear comfortable shoes and carry dance or dress shoes for when you get to the party).
For a comedic touch, one company even decorates wheelbarrows for one partner to wheel his or her date to the prom. In a big city, a classic yellow taxi and a street trolley are alternative options. Other unique substitutes include riding up on a farm vehicle or using connections for delivery in a police car, fire truck or ambulance. Remember that the use of an emergency vehicle may fall apart if something unexpected happens at the last minute.
Ensuring safe transportation is the first step to guaranteeing a night of wonderful memories.