Even though I sometimes wish my little girl would not grow up, the truth is that before long my daughter will be learning to drive. That is why my husband and I are very aware of the importance of being good role models when driving. Kids notice what we do and they learn by watching what we do as parents, so when it comes to driving safely (and for everything else for that matter) we really need to teach by example.
Did you know that car crashes are the No.1 killer of teens? The first year is the most dangerous. October 18-26 is National Teen Driver Safety Week and I am happy to be sharing with you lots of great information and resources so that together as a community, and with the help of State Farm, we can encourage teens to make good choices as they start the road towards safe driving.
State Farm’s Survey Find Parents and Teen Drivers are Dangerously Disconnected
As parents it’s important to be informed about what our kids are doing. This becomes especially urgent when we talk about teen driving. According to a survey recently conducted by State Farm most parents think that their teens are following the rules when it comes to graduated driver licensing (GDL)* law. But as it turns out parents are oeverstimating how much teens obey two key provisions of GDL laws:
- Nightime driving restrictions: it turns out that only 48% of teens state they almost always follow the GDL laws while 69% of parents believe they do.
- Passenger restrictions: only 43% of teens state that they almost always follow the GDL laws while 70% of parents believe their teen driver does.
*Graduated Driver Licensing laws are an experience-based method for beginning drivers in which driving privileges are introduced in phases and their objective is to keep teen out of high-risk driving situations while letting them get on the road experience in low risk environments.
I believe that as parents it’s our responsibility to make sure our kids are safe. For me it was very interesting to find out that teen drivers agree with parents that texting while driving is unsafe and both teens and parents perceive this GDL provision as the most widely obeyed. I used to think that texting and driving was one of the most dangerous things for teen drivers but as it turns out more teen driver crashes are due to getting distracted because of other passengers riding in the car with them followed by car crashed in during the night time.
Getting informed is really important because that way we know what to look for when our teens start driving and are aware of what conversations we need to be having with our children. Something else that I found very interesting is that I, like most parents, would have believed that peer pressure is the biggest reason why teens don’t follow restrictions and it turns out that the biggest reason for them not following them is that they think the police will not catch them! This is really eye opening and reflects that we need to start understanding how our teenagers think so that we are better equipped to help them make the right choices, choices that ultimately can save their lives.
In future posts I’ll be talking more about some great resources that are available for parents and teens. Two of these resources include the Celebrate My Drive Initiative and the Teen Driver Safety Website, both of these are filled with advice, information and tools to help parents and teens work on safe driving together. So stay tuned for the next two posts!