It’s hard to believe that driving a car is right around the corner for my little girl. On one hand, I’m beaming with pride and on the other, I’m scared for my life… and hers. Naturally.
It’s a modern-day rite of passage to watch our children sit behind the wheel, but it doesn’t make it any less terrifying for us parents. Not only do I have to worry about my child’s decisions while driving, but my main concern is the driving of others and how she will be able to defensively react. Not too far down the list, the dangers that peer pressure could add to the mix of driving concerns. At this point I don’t know who is more nervous, her about taking a driver’s test or me about all that having her license entails.
The only way I can really relieve some of the stress and pressure off of the two of us is through education. It’s easy to remind our children of what to do when we’re next to them in the passenger seat but during those times when they’re by themselves, we have to trust their ability to make smart decisions. Armed with the correct information, it can become second nature to them to make smart and informed decisions when it comes to driving.
Starting off with the cold, hard facts, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 2,524 teen drivers and passengers were killed and 177,000 were injured in 2013. Even one is just too many, so we have to do our parts as parents to make sure that our children know the levity of driving a vehicle. It’s not just “turn the music up and roll with the top down,” driving is serious business.
Having said all that, the facts and figures can be a bit overwhelming, and it’s hard to know exactly where to start. Fortunately, Mercury Insurance started the Drive Safe Challenge, an interactive website and defensive driving program to provide teens with detailed safety instruction and to give parents the right tools to shape responsible driving behavior. The site features:
- Driving techniques
- Informative road sign quizzes
- A driving contract parents and teens can sign to set the rules of the road and outline the circumstances under which driving privileges would be lost. I think this is one of the most important aspects of the site, as it’s a tangible contract that shows an agreement and the real world consequences of breaking it. I love the idea of a driving contract and will be utilizing that any chance I get.
- Instructional videos
- Car-buying and insurance tips
The Drive Safe Challenge has been an invaluable tool for helping me calm down a little bit and focus on making sure my teen becomes the best driver she can be. She’s not quite ready to drive on her own, but when that day comes, I will make sure that both she and I are confident about the entire process.
If your child is coming up on this big milestone or if you even want to refresh your new driver about the dangers and responsibility that come with getting a driver’s license, check out the specific laws in your state.
The Drive Safe Challenge Website is filled with all of the information you need to help yourself and your teen driver become confident about their time behind the wheel.
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