Driving a vehicle of any size comes with an array of inherent dangers, but many of us forget this when we get behind the wheel of our vehicle and head out for the day. Not only do we forget the dangers other drivers present to us along with the possibility of road debris, weather hazards and other obstacles, we also forget that we are setting examples as drivers for those who are coming after us and will be driving our cars in the near future.
With this thought in mind, what kind of driver are you? Do you yell at other drivers and show your emotions, do you eat, drink, apply makeup or text while you are driving? Are you on the phone while driving with the phone up to your ear? All of these habits are awful and need to be broken or guess what; your teen driver will be doing the exact same thing as you are.
What is really alarming isn’t so much that we perform these tasks when we drive, that should be easy enough to break, but the fact we feel our driving is just as good when doing these things as when we are not. Keep in mind, if you are traveling 55 mph and take your eyes off the road for five seconds, which is the equivalent of being blind for the length of a football field, which can be absolutely devastating.
What is worse actually is this is the example you are setting for your teenage driver. You cannot expect them to be smarter behind the wheel than you are and once they are comfortable, even the most hesitant of drivers tend to follow the example that was set for them, which is you and your habits. Thinking about your own driving habits, do you want your teenage driver to perform the same tasks as you while driving? It would be much better if they and you were just focused on the task of driving and what is going on around you on the road.
In an effort to educate us regarding the need to be aware of driving, even in a car that has the most advanced features available, Toyota has a series of videos on their TeenDrive page that offer a slightly amusing view of driving distracted in a Toyota Corolla, but ones that are poignant and easy to learn from. The habits these parents and teens showcase are things we all may be guilty of at one time or another, but do you want to have your teenage driver become a statistic, or do you want to see them grow up and live a long and happy life?
I know the answer to that last question and so do you, so please, I beg you, on my knees beg you, to stop driving distracted. Put your phone away, wait to eat until you get home, do your makeup before you leave and stop feeling like you can answer calls and do business while driving. Focus on your driving, pass along good habits to your teen and hopefully both of you will be safe and aware drivers on the road.