TEN TIPS ON TEACHING YOUR KIDS TO DRIVE
Teaching your kids to drive safely may be one of the most important lessons you ever pass onto them. I do nothing but injury law, so I see injuries from car and truck accidents literally every single day. Driving is the most dangerous thing we do, much more so than flying, or even tornadoes and earthquakes. In fact, traffic accidents kill more than all natural disasters combined. So, sign your kids up for driving classes if you can. In any event, here are some critical things you, as the parent, can stress with your kids:
HANG UP AND DRIVE! It is reported that speaking on a cell phone while driving reduces focus on the road and the act of driving by 37%, regardless of whether it is hands-free or hand-held cell phone operation.
NO TEXTING! Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, while blind.
SLOW DOWN! Tell them any risky moves seen by anyone, and the car may be sold. You are the parent, not the friend.
BRAKING TAKES TIME! Go to a safe place and let them feel how long it really takes to go from highway speed to a stop. It might surprise them.
NOT EVEN A SIP! For drivers 21 - 44 alcohol plays a role in almost 50% of all fatalities! Tell them, not only are you likely to kill a friend drinking and driving, but you also get a felony conviction, never get to own guns or vote, you have to go to jail and your family likely loses their house. All that for a beer or a buzz, is just crazy!
WEAR SAFETY BELTS! Almost 70% of people who die in vehicles are not properly wearing safety restraints. You need to set the example. They won’t drive without their music, and they should not drive without their belts.
DON’T OVERCORRECT! This is critical. Let them put two wheels on a level stretch of the gravel shoulder and just hold. The sudden sound of gravel will often cause them to jerk left violently and lose control. Steady controlled movement will put them safely back on the asphalt. Do it until they do not panic anymore. By the way, it is sadly better to hit an animal than to wreck, so cover that, too.
LOOK TWICE! It is not enough to “look both ways.” They must do that, but twice! Motorcycles are much harder to see, and even cars can seem to hide. Many people who hit and injure my clients say they “never saw” our car. They did not see it, because they did not look twice.
LEFT LANE IS PASSING ONLY!
CALL YOUR PARENTS: Anytime, anywhere –rather than ride with a risky or drunk driver. You will be picked up without punishment…but alive.