Not many families have a car that is just for the au pair’s use and no au pair should expect to have free reign of a car. Even if an au pair does have their own car, the au pair should always ask before using it and let the family know when they will have the car back. Host families need to feel comfortable with their au pair’s driving skills, so they might require that the au pair get a US driver’s license first. Host families also can limit the distance their car is driven and how long their au pair has their car out. Au pairs need to remember that access to a car is a privilege, not a right.
Many au pairs cannot drive, or do not want to drive in the US. Our cars are much bigger than they are used to, the roads are faster and have more people on them, and their English might not be great. While most au pairs who don’t drive use public transportation, get rides from friends, bike or walk; it’s still a good idea for host families to offer them rides, especially to school or on the weekends. No au pair should be stuck at home all the time because he or she doesn’t have a way to get out.
Talk with potential au pairs about their driving experience and what expectations you have for driving. Don’t expect your au pair to be comfortable with driving in the US right away and plan on helping them get used to driving in the US.