How to Evaluate Your Nanny’s Driving Skills
July 18, 2012 | in Background Check
Hiring a nanny can be a stressful, time-consuming process. Once you’ve narrowed down the field of candidates and have conducted a round of interviews, there’s still one crucial hurdle along the path of hiring that you must clear: conducting a background check.
In addition to national and county court records checks, a thorough background check will include a review of the candidate’s motor vehicle driving record. However, these background checks and reviews only return results if a prospective nanny has been caught driving badly. If your nanny won’t be driving your children to or from school, play dates, and extracurricular activities, you may not be overly concerned with how honed her driving skills are. That being said, if there’s even the slightest possibility that your children will ever have to climb into a vehicle with your nanny at the wheel, whether it’s due to an emergency or an unforeseen development, it’s absolutely essential that you evaluate her ability to safely handle it and transport the children.
Determine Their Familiarity with the Area
Even a skilled driver can be dangerous when they’re navigating unfamiliar territory, so determining her driving safety begins with figuring out her knowledge of the area. A nanny who’s lived in your city for years and is familiar with your neighborhood isn’t necessarily a better driver than the woman who just moved into the state, but she is less likely to become dangerously disoriented or frustrated due to being lost, which could potentially lead to an accident. If she arrives at the interview and seems flustered or anxious, it might be a red flag that she’s not yet familiar enough with the area to drive safely with your children in tow.
Take a Good Look
While any major accident will require repairs by a skilled auto-body repair-person, many drivers do not submit insurance claims for minor dents. If your nanny’s car is riddled with dents, scratches, and other signs of collision, especially if it’s a relatively new car, it might be worth questioning her abilities.
Another strong indicator of safety behind the wheel is age and experience level. A thirty-year-old driver who’s had a license for less than five years is likely to be a more responsible and cautious driver than a twenty-something, but she does not have as much practical driving experience. Both factors are important ones, and weighing them carefully is an essential part of making an educated estimate about a prospective nanny’s driving skills.
Observing her as she approaches and drives away from the interview site can provide more valuable clues about her ability, especially if she’s naturally reckless or makes a habit of driving with distractions.
Hire a Service
If a clean background check isn’t enough to ease your mind, and subtle observation isn’t yielding results, there are companies that provide driver monitoring. Methods include dispatching a monitor to follow your potential nanny, observing her driving habits and documenting them for review, installing GPS and vehicle diagnostic units that track driving habits of an individual, and supplying an “Is My Driving Safe?” decal that encourages other drivers to report poor or dangerous driving. You may also be able to obtain information through a private investigator, especially if you’re using one to conduct your pre-employment background checks. Before employing any of these methods, however, it’s advised that you inform your nanny candidates of your intention to do so and obtain their permission to avoid disputes and potential legal action in the future.
The Direct Route is Usually the Most Effective
Rather than resorting to cloak-and-dagger spy routines, you might find that you learn everything you need to know by approaching candidates with honesty and sincerity. Professional nannies will understand your hesitation to allow an untested driver to transport your children, and will answer any questions that you may have. She may also consent to a “driving test,” letting you ride in the vehicle to evaluate her performance and skill level on the spot, in a one-on-one environment. Inquiring about past accidents, moving violations and other pertinent information is more likely to turn up honest answers if your approach is frank and up-front; learning that you’re trying to uncover such information through subterfuge or a third-party service could make even an experienced, capable driver clam up out of frustration and indignation at the invasion of her privacy.
Whatever method you choose, the most important thing you can do is to be honest and forthcoming, both about any doubts or misgivings that you may have and about the avenues you intend to pursue in order to uncover the information you seek.← 10 Nanny Interview Questions About Their Work History | Should I Let My Nanny Drive My Kids Around? →
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