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Isn’t it amazing how quickly the kids learn to drive a car, yet are unable to understand the lawnmower, snow-blower, or vacuum cleaner:)
Okay, they turn 16 and then we are compelled to let them drive or else they’ll keep on making us drive them around the town. Having a teenager is tough, they’re eager, excited and they certainly don’t want their parents getting in their way but having a teenage driver is a whole different scenario. Statistics show that drivers below 24 years old are 4x more likely to die than older drivers. It is due to inexperienced and recklessness which comes from being overconfident.
It’s probably the worst time for parents and teenager to bond because the teens are at the age where they want nothing to do with their parents and parents can be going through a midlife crisis. But driving is something most everyone has to do and most everyone wants to do. And what better person to teach your child than you?
Remember what it was like to start driving a car? It was hard to keep the car in the lines and it was hard to keep the speed just right. It was hard to read the road signs and keep the car on the road until you got use to it. With experience you got better and hopefully you are a careful and safe driver today with the ability to have patience to teach someone else how to drive. Remember, your teen doesn’t know what they don’t know . They may have been sitting beside you in the front seat ‘watching’ you drive for years but if they are like my teens, chances are they’ve actually been reading, texting, listening to their iPod or pretending to be asleep so you won’t ask them awkward questions. Teaching your kid to drive has to be one of the biggest testers of trust there is.
This isn’t about the nuts and bolts of teaching parallel parking or 3 Point Turns. It’s about an approach to teaching your teen to drive that will ensure you still have a working relationship at the end of it!
Let’s talk about some Safe Driving Tips…… Above all keep your cool and your patience when teaching your child how to drive. Nothing is accomplished by scaring the child they are probably scared enough.
The following are some things you should discuss with your teen before he gets behind the wheel of a car. While you can’t prevent all accidents, letting your teen know of these risks can greatly reduce the chance that he will be the cause of one:
Tip Number One: Congratulate your teen. They’re fifteen!
Make a big deal out of being able to drive, becoming an adult. Most teenagers act like children because they’re treated that way. They can’t do this, they can’t do that. But driving is something that will be coming up in the next year and they will have to learn. It’s part of growing up and being an adult.
Tip Number Two: Get them the test books on their birthday.
They need materials. Don’t leave it to them to go to the store or the DMV to get books. Let them know you’ve been thinking about them. Let them know that you really care and want them to really have this in their lives. A teenager can sometimes feel that their parents are so caught up in work and significant others that they are forgotten about. But giving them a driving book on their birthday lets them know that realize they are becoming adults as much as they do.
Tip Number Four: Ask your teen directly when they want you to take them out driving.
Don’t force yourself on them but let them know that it is your responsibility to help them drive well. You want them to succeed. Once you’ve told them what days you’re free, set up a time and a place to go over things. Being active about your teen learning to drive lets them know that all your talk isn’t just talk.
Tip Number Five: Set up a schedule for driving lessons.
Some schools have driving lessons but if they don’t or if your teen wants to take them from you, set up a good schedule. What happens sometimes is that after the first time out, the teen gets bored or the parent gets frustrated and they never make any other plan to go out driving. So set up a weekly or bi-weekly schedule of driving lessons.
Tip Number Six: Let them go at their own pace.
When scheduling, let them decide how many times a month you study or have driving lessons. And when learning, let them learn at their own pace, asking questions. Patience is word when teaching someone anything. Whether your child has to have repetitive lessons because that’s how they learn or they have learning problems, you should be there to help no matter what.
Tip Number Seven: From test questions to actually driving, give them the power.
This not only helps them feel more like an adult but it helps you to realize that your kids are actually growing up. When they mess up, let them deal with figuring out the problem. Let them find the answers themselves. This is one of the first times in a parent’s life when they realize they have to let go. The word here is help, not control.
Tip Number Eight: Encourage them.
This is also a time that teens can feel insecure about screwing up on both the verbal and driving tests. Tell them they’ve got plenty of chances but also tell them they will do great. Let them know if they’ve done a great job.
What are some other things kids should do while driving……
- Turn cell phones off. Talking and texting on cell phones while driving is a huge distraction. But teens love their cell phones, and likely believe they are more than capable of multitasking while driving. A 2005 survey by the Allstate Foundation found that more than half of teens use their cell phones while driving. Depending on the state you live in, texting or talking on a cell phone may be illegal. Regardless, let your teens know the dangers of cell phone (and other distracting behaviors) in cars, and instruct them to keep their cell phones off or on vibrate so that they are less tempted to use them. To decrease the risk of your teen being tempted, outfit their car with a hands-free device so they don’t think twice about reaching down to answer their phone.
- Keep your eyes on the road. This sounds obvious, but most teens believe they can do it all — even if that means taking their eyes of the road to do it. Let them know how distracting (and potentially dangerous) it can be to eat while driving, put on makeup, change the radio stations or look at passengers. Accidents happen in a split second, and inattentive drivers are the cause of 80 percent of crashes.
- Maintain a safe distance. Teens are more likely than other drivers to tailgate. Newer drivers may not quite understand the importance of staying a safe distance away from the car in front of them. When teaching them how to drive, show your teens what represents a safe distance, and have them practice when you are in the car. Once they get a feel for it, it will become second nature while driving.
- Always wear a seat belt. Many fatalities that result from car accidents are due to drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts. Stress the importance of seat belt use to your teens, whether they are driving or just going along for the ride. “[Teens] don’t understand how much a seat belt is going to save their lives, but seat belt use has been a huge factor in just about every fatal teen accident.
- Don’t drink and drive. This one should go without saying, but, given the statistics above, clearly many teens disregard even this blatant law. Inform your teens of the dangers of drunk driving — both the potential risk of fatalities and the legal ramifications of driving while intoxicated. Let them know that, if they feel like they are too drunk to drive, they can call you for a ride without getting in trouble. While you may not approve of your teens’ underage drinking, keep in mind that it’s better to make sure they get home safely than have them be too worried about getting in trouble to call you.
Let’s see how good your kids are at driving by taking this test.……...Turn The Page
The Statistics are Alarming
It may be tempting for parents to allow their newly licensed teens to drive themselves to their friends’ houses or pick up a few things at the grocery. After all, they are actually eager to do the chores parents have grumbled about for years. But before they sit back and leave the driving to their kids, parents need to be aware of some disturbing statistics regarding teen drivers.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens, accounting for more than one-third of all deaths of 16- to 18-year-olds. This should be reason enough for parents to take their teens’ driving very seriously and to insist that their teens do, too.
- Teen drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group.
- Compared with crashes of older drivers, those of 16 year-olds more often involve driver error.
- More of 16-year-olds’ fatal crashes involve only the teen’s vehicle.
- Sixteen year-olds’ fatal crashes are more likely to occur when other teenagers are in the car. The risk increases with every additional passenger.
- Per mile driven, the nighttime fatal crash rate for 16-year-olds is about twice as high as during the day.
- Teenagers generally are less likely than adults to use safety belts.Obviously teens need to drive to get experience, but that doesn’t mean they should have unlimited access to the car or be allowed to ferry friends around day and night the minute they get their licenses.
- Parents can make this time as safe as possible by accompanying them on their excursions, insisting on seat belt use, and allowing brand new drivers to use the car only during the day at first. As teens get more practice hours under their belts, parents can gradually allow them more freedom.
- As the statistics show, it takes more than a license to be a good driver — it also takes patience and practice, and good parenting.Without even thinking about it, we parents are teaching our children how to drive from the first time we strap them into a car seat. During these early years, our young passengers are learning how it “feels” to be in a car; driving in a residential area, on a freeway, in a parking lot; dealing with traffic, being in a hurry, driving when tired, angry or distracted.
- So We have Taken this Task to Teach Our kids How to Drive But How Do We Measure Up As a Driver…… Are you a tailgater? If your little girl has always seen the car in front of her just three feet from your bumper when going 60 mph on the freeway, this distance will seem “normal” to her. Chances are she will do the same when she gets behind the wheel, only without the 15, 20 or 30 or more years of experience and trained reflex that you have to help you avoid an accident.
- Do you routinely speed, weave in and out of traffic or cut people off when in a hurry? Most likely, your teenaged son, additionally fueled by raging hormones, loud music and his newly endowed transportation autonomy, will take these patterns to the next level.
- If you’re angry or stressed, do you transfer those feelings to the road, criticizing other drivers, cursing them for their driving, or even attempting to intimidate or “punish” them with your driving when they offend you? This behavior, too, will seem “normal” to your children, and when that girlfriend or boyfriend rejects them, or they don’t make the team, your young, inexperienced driver will take their powerful and confused emotions and your poor example with them behind the wheel of a car.
- Nearly all of us have been guilty of at least some if not all of these bad driving behaviors at one time or another. But, as parents, it’s important to remember that you are no longer alone in your car. You are being watched. There is truly no greater way to teach your children to become safe, courteous drivers than to model that behavior yourself.
- If you are aware of poor or unsafe driving habits or attitudes that you possess – habits or attitudes that you would not want your children to emulate – begin right now to correct them. Even talk about them with your kids. Let them help you become a better, safer and more courteous driver so that they, too, can become better, safer more courteous drivers one day as well.
- Another important piece as we teach our kids to drive are the teenage driving laws………..
- Every state has toughened the regulations for who can drive, when and where. Some of these laws restrict 16-year-olds to driving with an adult for at least 6 months. Others forbid 16- and 17-year-olds from carrying passengers under 21, outside immediate family, for their first year on the road.
- Seat belt use is mandatory in many states for drivers under the age of 18, even if a general seat belt law is not in effect.
- Several states now require a minimum number of hours spent in traffic schools or drivers education programs before a teen can apply for a driver’s license.
- Most states have enacted curfews for drivers under 18, typically between the hours of 1AM and 6AM.
- One third of US states ban teens from using cell phones while they drive.
- To find out which laws apply in your state, check the Web site of your state’s department of motor vehicles. If the laws seem restrictive, the penalities for breaking them are worse.
- Some states have imposed fines as high as $1,000 for teen offenders. Teens may also lose their provisional driver’s licenses and have to complete a driver education course and pay a reinstatement fee to get the license back.
- If you are nervous about this you can always enroll your child in driver’s ed classes if possible. He or she will probably get better instruction than you could offer, and the teacher will probably be more patient than you. Still, you can’t avoid riding with your son or daughter entirely. Don’t be surprised if both you and your child are nervous. Just remember, you were once a beginning driver yourself.
- We have all seen the scenario of parents attending the funerals of their children, yet the problem continues all over the United States. I do not wish to single out any certain age group, as drinking and driving and fatal accidents have been caused by many an adult. All age groups are affected. However, it disturbs me that, with graduation and prom season approaching, our nation’s youth will be attending parties where alcohol is being served.
Death of An Innocent
I went to a party, Mom,
I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom,
So I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside, Mom,
The way you said I would.
I didn’t drink and drive, Mom,
Even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom,
I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending, Mom,
As everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom,
I knew I’d get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me,
So responsible and sweet.
I started to drive away, Mom,
But as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn’t see me, Mom,
And hit me like a load.
As I lay there on the pavement, Mom,
I hear the policeman say,
“The other guy is drunk,” Mom,
And now I’m the one who will pay.
I’m lying here dying, Mom…
I wish you’d get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom?
My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me, Mom,
And most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom,
I’ll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom,
I swear I didn’t drink.
It was the others, Mom.
The others didn’t think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank
And I will die.
Why do people drink, Mom?
It can ruin your whole life.
I’m feeling sharp pains now.
Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit me is walking, Mom,
And I don’t think it’s fair.
I’m lying here dying
And all he can do is stare.
Tell my brother not to cry, Mom.
Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom,
Put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave.
Someone should have told him, Mom,
Not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom,
I would still be alive.
My breath is getting shorter, Mom.
I’m becoming very scared.
Please don’t cry for me, Mom.
When I needed you,
you were always there.
I have one last question, Mom.
Before I say good bye.
I didn’t drink and drive,
So why am I the one to die?
(When rushing off to the gym or hopping on a plane, I always like to keep food in bar form in my bag. Unfortunately, too many of those bars are full of chemicals, high fructose corn syrup, or other bad for you ingredients. But what if there was a company that would make the bars for you? You could pick and choose top tier ingredients and then order a box of custom-made bars that are shipped directly to your door? You Bar allows you to design your own bars online, or order some of their most popular bars. What is really cool is that as you build your bar… and You view the nutrition facets of your custom energy bar while you’re creating it. How awesome is that?)
(You Bar is a neat company – you get to choose and create your own protein bar! What goes in, how big it is, even the protein bar name. They make it fresh and ship it to you.)
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