As parents, you want to keep your children safe and teach them right from wrong. In a world where peer pressure and doing what is cool rules, it can be hard to get these lessons across, especially when it comes to driving. One of the easiest ways to do this is to demonstrate good driver role model behavior for your teens.
When parents drive distracted or model other types of poor driving behavior, it does influence teens. A 2014 survey found that parents even phone their teens while their teen is driving , and may not relent until the teen answers. And studies show that teens who are around distracted-driving parents are two to four times more likely to drive distracted themselves.
“The most important thing is for parents to remember from the time their children turn around and face forward in their car seat, they are watching parents driving–and learning,” said Maureen Vogel, Senior Manager, Public Relations, National Safety Council.
1. Stop Behind-the-Wheel Cell Phone Use
One way to model good behavior is not to text while driving. Teens see enough of this on television shows, movies, and possibly in real life with their friends. Whether you know it or not, they do look up to you and you can make a difference. Show them by example that it is not worth risking their lives to answer a question, see a picture, or watch a video while driving.
2. Get a Good Night ’ s Sleep
It’s estimated that nearly 84 million Americans drive drowsy every day . Drowsy driving constitutes impaired driving, and with severe sleep deprivation, driving becomes extremely risky. But, getting enough sleep can be difficult. This can be especially true if you work a demanding job, or for teens, if they have a lot of after-school commitments and homework. Explain to your teenager why it is so important to get a good night’s sleep and that they should never get behind the wheel if they are feeling drowsy.
Also, know that drinking coffee, listening to loud music, or letting fresh air in will not do the trick–for neither you or your teen. A good night’s rest is the best option for having a safe day behind the wheel. From there, be the example and make sure that both you and your teen get a full eight hours rest every night.
3. Do Not Eat While Driving
These days it is so easy to stop at the drive-thru and grab a meal. We are often rushing from here to there and often must eat on the go. However, this is not a good example for our teenagers.
Rustling in bags, passing food to other passengers, and fiddling with straws is distracting and can lead to accidents. Instead, set the standard by either pulling into a parking space for five minutes and eat what you can of your food or simply wait until you get to your next destination.
Overall, Vogel cautions parents to be mindful of their teens’ always-watching eye.
“Eighty percent of teen drivers look to their parents to be their good driving role models,” Vogel said. “They really pay attention and look to them for guidance”
In providing your teenager with good driving skills and common sense, you are setting your teenager up for a safe, long-lasting driving experience.
Read more from DriversEd.com, I Drive Safely, and eDriving:
- Read our corporate blog post “It’s Time We Take a Stand Against Drowsy Driving” on eDriving.com
- Want to be a defensive driver? Our One More Second defensive driving course teaches advanced skills to make sure you are ready for whatever the road brings
- Read our corporate blog post “As fatigue is declared a deadly epidemic, it’s time for drivers to wake up to the danger of drowsy driving” on eDriving.com
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