Road Safety: Setting a Good Example for Your Kids as a Good Driver

Remember way back to drivers’ ed and that long checksheet you had to go through before even starting the car? (Adjust all the mirrors? check. Put your seatbelt on? check. All passengers properly situated> check.) These days we just get in the car and go without thinking twice (or maybe even once) about the little things that keep us safe when we’re on the road.

Every year there are millions of car accidents, many of which are brought to you by driver who aren’t paying attention. Doing a safety check takes only a few minutes and it’s well worth it. We may think that we’re focused on the job at hand when we’re behind the wheel, but we’re often a lot more distracted than we know. For that reason, it’s never a bad idea to take a look at our habits and see whether there are any ways to improve our safety on the road.

Staying safe is everyone’s responsibility, but not everyone takes that job as seriously as they should. And even when they (and we) do, momentary lapses in judgment still happen.

1. Buckle Up
Maybe the easiest ways to improve safety is to wear your seatbelt. Yes, this seems like common sense, but as we’re backing out of our driveways or pulling out of our morning coffee stop, it’s easy to forget. A huge percentage of accidents happen in parking lots or very close to where at least one of the participants lives. Yes, they’re often pretty low speed, but without seatbelts, there’s still a lot of potential for serious injury. So before you put your car in drive, make sure everyone is buckled up.

2. It can wait
The number of accidents attributable to distracted driving is growing every year–and so is the number of fatalities. As a result, lawmakers around the country are coming up with new legislation designed to limit the use of mobile devices while in the car. Support the “no texting and driving” initiative by using a magnetic sign to show your support of the campaign. This also helps remind other drivers how dangerous it is to take your eyes off the road for even a second.

3. They’re watching our every move
Set a good example for your kids to help improve safety for the next generation of drivers. Technology will only increase how much activity can be performed while driving, so it’s important to let your young ones know that inattentive driving is dangerous. This includes not just texting, but messing with the radio dials or even using your hands-free phone devices while driving. Make your calls, enter addresses into your GPS, and send your texts while you’re parked.

4. It can wait–again
How many times a day do you check for email or texts or look up something on Google or Facebook? Those things are all fine and dandy when we’re sitting at home or at the office or standing in line at the post office. But when we’re moving a two-ton chunk of metal down the road, they’re anything but fine. So stand for road safety and make sure your kids see you doing it. The life you save could be theirs.

If You Can Not Beat Them, Text Them

Dear Mr. Dad: We recently got our teenage daughter her own cell phone. We held off for a long time, thinking we’d wait until she was mature enough to handle the responsibility. Looks like we were a little premature. She’s gone over the limit (mostly text messages) for the past two months, and nothing we say seems to sink in. Is there some way to cure her of this?

A: Welcome to the club. My 17-year old actually had several months with over 7,000 texts (incoming and outgoing). If you’re doing the math, that’s nearly 250 every single day. And compared to some other teens I’ve heard about, my daughter was a rank amateur. Part of the problem is developmental. Teens’ brains—particularly the parts that help deal with consequences—aren’t fully formed (and won’t be until their early 20s). But that doesn’t let them off the hook. Bottom line is that you can teach them better habits.
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