Driver’s Ed for Mom & Dad

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Let’s all just admit it. I’ve glanced at my phone while driving to read an email and looked up milliseconds before I almost slammed into the car stopped in front of me.

A5TextingTHUMB
Published May 22, 2013 5:00 AM
4 min read

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A5TextingTHUMBI’ve done it. You’ve done it. Let’s all just admit it. I’ve glanced at my phone while driving to read an email and looked up milliseconds before I almost slammed into the car stopped in front of me.

 

By Steve Mochel

 

A5-TextingWhileDrivingI’ve done it. You’ve done it.  Let’s all just admit it.

 

I’ve glanced at my phone while driving to read an email and looked up milliseconds before I almost slammed into the car stopped in front of me.  

 

You’ve tailgated the car in front of you and can’t believe they are actually going the speed limit on Forest Avenue.

 

The light turns green and the car in front of you doesn’t immediately step on the gas, so you lay on the horn.

 

Listen, I know…the last time most of us were in a Driver’s Ed classroom there was no Internet and there were three channels on TV. And yet we’ve continued to drive with our bad habits, which may have gotten worse over time.

 

Little did we know that our tween-aged kids were observing our driving behavior, forming the patterns they are most likely to repeat when they start driving. 

 

Sure, they’re learning all the right things in Driver’s Ed, but the truth is, once they start driving solo, they will mimic us. Too late for “Do as I say, not as I do!”

 

A recent study by Liberty Mutual and SADD offers some alarming statistics.

 

Ninety-one percent of teenagers observed their parents talking on their cell phones while driving. Ninety percent of those teens admitted to talking on the phone when they drive.

 

Eighty-eight percent of teens observed their parents speeding. Ninety-four percent of those teens admitted to speeding as well.

 

Forty-seven percent of teens said their parents don’t wear their seatbelts when they drive. A third of them admitted they don’t wear their seatbelts while driving either.

 

And while we’re focused on our new teen drivers as the biggest group on the road texting and driving, turns out that’s just not true. Almost half of adult drivers admit to texting or emailing while driving – slightly more than teens – and yet 98 percent admit they know that it’s wrong.

 

So Mom and Dad, it’s time for a little Driver’s Ed refresher course. Three simple things you can do to make yourself and everyone else around you safer when you drive.

 

Put your phone away and just drive. Do you really need any more proof of how dangerous this is? Seriously? Just stop it — now.

 

As I speak to high school students in New York and Connecticut about safe driving, the No. 1 question from students is: “How can I get my mom/dad to stop texting while they drive?” So, if you won’t do it for yourself, then do it for your kids – they want you around believe it or not.

 

Everyone in the car must wear seatbelts. Front seat. Back seat. Third row seats. This is the one thing that will almost always save your life if you’re in an accident, yet people still don’t insist that everyone in their car buckle up.

 

When you’re driving, your body is traveling at the same speed as the car. If there’s an abrupt stop, your body keeps traveling at that speed until it is either stopped on impact or thrown out the windshield. Or you fly through the car from the back seat. So, everyone, buckle up.  

 

Relax and slow down. The speed limit in Rye is 30 mph at its maximum.  School zones are 20 mph. Drive the speed limit – you’re not going to get where you’re going any faster, trust me. 

 

And if you’re driving down Purchase Street during the day, people are going to cross the street at crosswalks. Stop for them. Some drivers may even attempt to parallel park their car on our main shopping street (a column for another day that’s for sure). Relax, and let them go at it until they come to a complete stop.

 

And that driver who waits an extra second after the light turns green (a fresh green light by the way) is much smarter than anyone who’s laying on the horn. Two-thirds of all accidents happen at intersections – most caused by someone running a yellow or red light. That extra few seconds could save a life.

 

The good news is that it’s never too late to change your driving habits. Pick one of these three and start today. Add one more each week and make your family proud. They’d like you around for a very long time.

 

Steve Mochel is the parent of four teen drivers and the co-owner of Fresh Green Light, a driving school with locations in Rye, Greenwich, and Darien. Lasts year, nearly 1,000 students went through their programs.

 

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