By Art Liggio, President and CEO, Driving Dynamics
Picture this scene: you, a seasoned fleet driver; are driving through the city, traveling at the posted speed-limit. You find yourself passing through busy controlled intersections—all of a sudden your cell phone rings, what is your next move?
Same scenario, but this time imagine your newly-licensed teenage son or daughter behind the wheel, driving through the city, traveling at the posted speed-limit, moving through busy controlled intersections—all of a sudden the cell phone rings, what will be your teenager’s response?
Like all parents, you hope that your teen will make the decision not to answer the call or respond to the text message. What assurances do you have that the correct decision will be made? The first step in helping your child become a safe and responsible driver is to acknowledge that you play the most important role in their success behind the wheel.
A recent survey found that 59 percent of parents are aware that crashes are the number one killer of teens, however, just one quarter of those parents talked about safe driving with their child. Being proactive in your teen’s actions behind the wheel can produce lifesaving results.
As a parent, in addition to talking about safe driving with your son or daughter, you must also demonstrate safe driving practices to establish the right habits for your loved ones to follow. Each and every time you pull away with your teen in the vehicle, a lesson in driving begins. Children and young adults are keen observers and learn what they see; therefore safe and responsible actions such as using your seat belt, turning the cell phone off and traveling at a safe speed will provide positive examples to follow. And realize that your response to the actions of aggressive drivers on the road will also likely be imitated by your child when he or she is driving.
Secondly, spend time in the vehicle with your teen as they drive. Allowing your son or daughter to be the family chauffeur can be a great way to build confidence while giving you the opportunity to monitor his or her development as a driver. Getting a license only makes it legal to drive but does not assure we are trained or skilled in safe driving techniques. Driving is a learned activity and it takes practice. Experts have this to say: “It can literally take three to five years for novices to be exposed to the myriad of driving situations they’ll encounter on the road.” Who’s coaching them to competently handle these situations, if not you?
Crashes occur because novice teen drivers don’t have the skills, experience, and good habits needed to recognize certain hazards. Without that background, corrective actions will not be taken, leading to unwanted results. For the safety and well-being of your child, begin today, and take a proactive leadership role in your teen’s development behind the wheel.
With experience comes confidence and good decision making; don’t forget to challenge your teen with driving on unfamiliar roads, increased traffic and in a variety of weather conditions. Most importantly, regularly reinforce the fact that giving into distractions while driving is a sure recipe for disaster. Assure through example and communication that these impressionable drivers follow your distraction-free leadership.
And in recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness month, Driving Dynamics is offering fleet and safety professionals, who are responsible for managing driver safety programs, free access to our award-winning DrivActiv™ distracted driving e-lesson. Please email email@example.com to get your free assignment.
Safety & Risk is presented by Driving Dynamics an accomplished provider of impactful driver safety training and risk management services. Continually building and delivering programs based on sound research, proven learning methodologies and expert instruction, we are dedicated to improving drivers’ abilities to stay safe by leveraging risk management tools, principle-based learning and applied techniques. The One Second Advantage™ safety training principle developed by Driving Dynamics is rooted in research that shows 90 percent of all traffic crashes can be avoided when the driver has just one more second to react and knows what to do with that additional second. Driving Dynamics encourages all drivers to Steer Toward Safety™
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