Teaching your kids to drive safely may be one of the most important lessons you ever pass on to them. I do nothing but injury law, so I see injuries from car and truck accidents literally every single day. Driving is the most dangerous thing we do, much more so than flying or even tornadoes and earthquakes. In fact, traffic accidents kill more than all natural disasters combined. Here are five critical things to stress with your kids.
1. SLOW DOWN! Between the ages of 16 – 24, you know that insurance is outrageous. This is because this period is the most dangerous time for drivers, though boys are twice as likely to die by accident than females. It is risky behavior, like texting, speeding, and illegal passing, that kills. Tell them, “Any risky moves seen by anyone, and the car will be sold.” Then do it. You are the parent, not the friend!
2. NOT EVEN A SIP! For drivers 21 – 44, alcohol plays a role in almost 50% of all fatalities! Teach your kids to drive a stick in case they get stuck somewhere with a drinker. Tell them, not only are you likely to kill a friend drinking and driving, but you also get a felony conviction, never get to own guns or vote, have to go to jail and your family likely loses their house. All that for a beer or a buzz is just crazy!
3. WEAR SAFETY BELTS! There is really no excuse for leaving the driveway unrestrained. Almost 70% of people who die in vehicles are not properly wearing safety restraints. Set the example. They won’t drive without their music, and they should not drive without their belts. No exceptions. (You, too, Mom and Dad).
4. DON’T OVERCORRECT! This is critical. Go to a safe place and let them feel how long it really takes to go from highway speed to a stop. It might surprise them. Let them put two wheels on the gravel shoulder and just hold. The sudden sound of gravel will often cause them to jerk left violently and lose control. Steady, controlled movement will put them safely back on the asphalt. Do it until they do not panic anymore. It is sadly better to hit an animal than to wreck, so cover that, too.
5. LOOK TWICE! It is not enough to “look both ways.” They must do that, but twice! Motorcycles are much harder to see, and even cars can seem to hide. Many people who hit and injure my clients say they “never saw” our car. They did not see it, because they did not look twice. Safe motoring!
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.