ADVICE FOR PARENTS
Over the years the way you drive becomes hard-wired into your kids’ brains as the ‘norm’. If you speed or jump lights, chances are they will do too. By driving safely on every journey, you’re repeatedly teaching them to how to be safer drivers as adults. So by the time they do get behind the wheel of a car, safe driving will come naturally to them.
WATCH YOUR SPEED
If you’re prone to speeding, it’s likely that as adults, your kids will be too. Even if you always drive within the speed limit, you should always set a safe example by adjusting your speed on country roads and in built-up areas, and when approaching corners or driving in poor weather conditions.
Aggressive driving is dangerous driving. When we lose our temper, we lose concentration – especially if we’re shouting or swearing. Show your kids how to rise above it by being calm. It’s a lesson they can also take to other areas of life.
MAKE THE CAR A NO-PHONE ZONE
Using a mobile phone while driving can lead to needless road traffic accidents and fatalities. Studies show that even hands-free phones can impair concentration as much as drink driving. Switch your phone off whenever you’re in the car, and keep stressing to your kids that cars are always no-phone zones. The last thing you want when they start driving is for them to think it’s ok to make calls or text when they’re behind the wheel.
GIVE AMBER GAMBLING THE RED LIGHT
One of the most important things your kids can learn is your attitude to traffic lights. Instill in them never to take the risk of going through the amber light for the sake of a few moments. And when you have to wait at a red light, don’t moan about it.
Responsible parents would never dream of letting their children travel without a seatbelt. But it’s important that they see that wearing seatbelts applies to adults too. Even if you’re only going on the shortest of journeys, lay down the law that all passengers must wear a seat belt.
It’s common sense, but always keep your attention on the road. You may be a safe driver, but there are sadly others on the road who aren’t. Keep the kids occupied with car games, books or DVDs and plan long journeys in advance so you can time food and toilet breaks. It goes without saying that you should never drive when you’re tired.
A BIG NO
A big NO is driving under the influence of drink or drugs at any time – that includes prescription medication which advises not to drive. Even if your children aren’t in the car, there are other children on the roads. Never, ever risk it.
Be courteous to pedestrians and cyclists. The more your kids see positive behaviour towards other road users, the less likely they are to be involved in an accident involving other road users. It’s as simple as that.
Running late? Then be late. Rush hour is peak time for accidents, so leave plenty of time for your journey and don’t be a statistic. By showing your kids that it’s better to arrive late than not at all, you’ll not only make them safer drivers, but safer pedestrians too.