It can be hard to sit down after a long day and discuss the merits of safe driving with your kids. Luckily, there’s an entire week dedicated to doing just that.
October 15-21 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and entire seven days dedicated to promoting safe driving. It’s up to parents and their kids to make the most of it. If you believe what you read, earning a driver’s license is considered a rite of passage. It’s also a privilege, and in our world, it doesn’t hurt to remind teens (or anyone, for that matter) why. Take the opportunity to chat about these best-practices.
Traffic fatalities have risen steadily over the last several years. Experts believe it’s a consequence of more distracted driving behavior. Cell phones have become an inextricable part of our lives, sometimes for the worse. Text messaging and, worse, browsing social media feeds, have led to devastating consequences. A solution: Put your phone on Airplane mode, store it in the glovebox and keep it there. It’s a simple, straightforward way to eliminate temptation and keep your eyes focused on the road ahead.
Never drink and drive
As much as parents like to believe that their teens exercise good judgment the fact remains: temptation is a powerful thing. Luckily, most know that drinking and driving is not only a dangerous choice, it’s also illegal. But that doesn’t mean their friends are thinking the same thing. When I talk to my kids about this very subject, I’m less inclined to talk about their judgment as I am their peers; temptation might be powerful, but so is peer pressure. Reminding your teen to never ride in a car with someone who’s been drinking is as important as teaching them not to drink and drive.
Follow the written and unwritten rules of the road
As driving goes, we depend on the judgment of complete strangers without realizing it most of the time. The road is a shared space, and those who use it are bound by a code of regulations — written and unwritten. That means driving responsibly and defensively, which also means setting a good example. Obeying speed limits, allowing extra time to get from point A to point B, yielding to pedestrians — these are staples of responsible driving that are learned over time. It also doesn’t hurt to let a fellow driver enter a congested intersection, or yield to someone who might be J-walking.
Pay attention to non-drivers
As Jay often talks about, cyclists deserve much more respect than they typically receive. But they also have as much responsibility as drivers to obey the rules. The difference being: One of you is driving a car, the other is steering a foot-operated, two-wheeled piece of graphite. Maintaining slow speeds, and allowing for extra room when passing cyclists or pedestrians is an important part of keeping everyone safe, especially in unpredictable circumstances.
Fundamental and necessary, yet fundamentally lacking among young teens and novice drivers. By not fastening seat belts, drivers and passengers increase the likelihood of injury or even death by a significant percentage margin. That’s a fact, not hyperbole. Buckling up needs to be a reflexive habit, and it goes back to what we said about setting the example. Children learn from an early age to imitate their parents and caregivers, so adults arguably have a greater responsibility to enforce this easily-maintained practice to inform the impressionable minds of young kids, who eventually become young drivers.
We promote safe and responsible driving because we often take legal action against people who do neither. If you’ve been injured in an accident because of negligence, contact our offices for help.