Passing Bad Driving Habits to your Teen - Part 1
Whether parents like to admit it or not, they are teaching their kids bad driving habits. Some are oblivious, while other less-than-optimal techniques are actually being done during driving instruction. Some of these potentially deadly distractions are being passed from parent to child ensuring that the child is in fact turning into their mother.
Ok teenagers, we're not saying you're going to start going gray, your closet will be full of mom jeans, and you'll go around the schoolyard asking your peers, Is it hot in here or is just me? But you are at risk of becoming her on the road.
By the time teens gets behind the wheel they will have spent hundreds of hours in the car with a parent. During that time they will have picked up countless dangerous tendencies. Since they will have less experience behind the wheel themselves, they may not be able to adjust in time to an immediate crisis like an experienced driver can.
I've compiled an un-bucket list of poor techniques a parent may be doing on a daily basis. Take a look and see if you are doing any of these things, then make adjustments so your teenager doesn't fall into the same routine when he or she takes the wheel.
1. Talking/Texting on cell phone
Despite new laws, hands-free devices, and flat out good common sense, parents are still using cell phones when their kids are in the car. Turn off the phone and practice not using it during road travel so you set a good example.
2. Not paying attention during instruction
In a recent study parents admitted they didn't pay full attention or give their best instruction during driving lessons. Specifically, it revealed they are using cell phones while teaching their kids how to drive. Wait, what? This would be like an ocean diver teaching new divers how to safely swim with sharks by intentionally poking the fish in the gills with a spear. It's bad enough to talk on your phone while driving with loved ones in the car, but now we've got a pissed off Great White on our hands ready to snap off someone's leg. Other excuses included checking work emails, texting, or credulously thinking their pupil didn't need their undivided attention especially in rural areas. Take a break and give your focus. Your childs safety depends on it.
3. Poor hands-on-the-wheel technique
Driving with an arm slouched over the steering wheel as one bobs and weaves through traffic might look pretty cool in rap videos, but it is not considered safe driving. Sure, ten and two oclock on the wheel is the ideal recommendation, but even Grandma Edna gets lazy on her hand placement once in a while. Keep cognizant of where your hands are and don't get too fancy if you are trying to show off at the stoplight to a sexy co-ed. You kid will take notice.
4. Reckless driving
There was a time in our existence when the time of day was calculated by the location of the sun in the sky and whether or not the hunter and gatherers had returned home. Now the world has gone and gotten itself in a big hurry. This leads to speeding and reckless driving. Soccer Moms are attempting to get their kids to practice on time, Dads are dropping their child off at school then rushing to make their morning meeting, and Twlight fans are racing to the theater to see the new release. If parents drive recklessly so will teens. So take your time and teach some good examples. They will follow, no matter how much of a dreamboat that Taylor Lautner is.
5. Driving too close to the vehicle in front (Tail-gating)
In Nascar racing it is customary to drive just behind the racecar in front of you so you can draft off them. The wind generated by doing this is just enough to propel the car behind past the car ahead when the time is right. This is a necessary technique when attempting to win at Daytona, but can put you and other drivers in danger in the real world. Keep a safe distance between you and other cars, even if you think you are Dale Earnhardt Jr. If you are unaware of current laws and requirements, take ten minutes and complete a Permit Practice Test online to brush up.
If parents can take action on these terrible habits now, there will be a lot less traffic stops that start with my mom does this all the time, when they take the wheel.
Check back for part 2 of this safe driving saga.