Most of us began driving when we were teenagers………what a powerful feeling to finally get behind the wheel! How great it was to see and be seen by our peers as we drove up and down the streets, by the high school, and pulled up to the local drive-in. Many of us learned, as most kids do today as well, by the examples our parents set. If their driving behaviors consisted of speeding, running stop lights, yelling at some other driver, not wearing seatbelts, drinking while driving, and letting personal upsets get in the way of safety, chances are their teenagers will have learned the same bad traits. So, parents, think about what type of role model you are.
Stephen Wallace, National Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) say that high school drivers say they talk on cell phones while driving, and that they speed. They probably text on their cell phones, as well. It is the mission of S.A.D.D. to provide students with the best preventative tools to deal with issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving and other destructive decisions. Originally founded as Students Against Driving Drunk, the group realized there are so many other issues facing teenagers that must be addressed.
Most states require some type of formal drivers education or training programs. However, this is just a small part of the experience of driving that teenagers get. Parental supervision furnishes more practice, and open conversations between parents and new drivers go a long way toward building a foundation of safe driving. Parents should also consider the type of person their teenager is: one that is willing to take risks, or one that shows good judgment. Will they also obey rules set down by their parents, and follow the regulations of driving?
It’s a great feeling for parents to be able to furnish their teenagers’ first car, but they need to let them know that if the rules are broken, grounding will be in effect. It would be better to park the car for a week or so, than live with the results of a bad accident that could take their life, or the life of someone else.
We hope that this summer will be a safe one for everyone, especially our teens! Drive friendly, and keep the roads safe.