Guest Blogger: Pat Brownlee
This week’s topic as part of National Safety Month is Teen Driving Safety.
Just one of the many challenges of rearing teens is teaching them to drive. As parents of three grown children, our kids went through their share of accidents, some more serious than others that were little minor fender-benders. It is important that we as parents and grandparents teach our kids the consequences that can occur if they are not serious about careful driving. The first time they are allowed to take the car by themselves, usually on short errands, they sometimes face the temptation to make a few extra blocks, hoping that their friends see them.
Now, we have two teenagers that are almost fifteen, and when they come to visit, we get to give them driving lessons, the same as we did when their parents were growing up. (Hopefully, they will remember how much fun it was to get to drive on a country road.) Maybe there will be something that we have demonstrated or mentioned that will jog their memory to be careful drivers.
Even after they have taken driver’s education and passed their state licensing requirements, it is still normal to worry about teenagers getting behind the wheel. There are too many distractions for all drivers now. Parents should start setting a good example for their children years before they are of driving age. If kids see parents exhibit temper fits when they are cut off in busy traffic, speed, or use their cell phones or text while driving, the youngsters are probably going to do the very same thing, when they become drivers. The best policy is to not use a cell phone while driving, even hands-free ones. Anyone engaged in conversation is not paying close enough attention to the road. Teenagers have enough distractions: loud music, too many passengers, and too many gadgets to contend with instead of focusing on driving.
So, parents, a word to the wise: teach safe driving by example. Drive safely, show courtesy to fellow drivers, and don’t let other things take your mind off the task at hand – getting to your destination safely. Allow plenty of time, so you aren’t rushed, and keep reminding your teens that driving a car can be fun, but that they are expected to recognize the fact that they are responsible for themselves and anyone with them. Lastly, drive defensively and watch for the other person, as he may not be watching for you! There are bad drivers of any age, but let’s teach our kids to appreciate the freedom driving affords them, by encouraging them to be safe at all times.