As a parent, you know that your children are always watching and learning from you; parents are the most important role models in a child’s life. This is just as true when it comes to safe driving as it is with anything else. By modeling safe driving habits for your children when you are behind the wheel you can avoid passing on bad habits that could lead to increased car insurance rates and ensure that when your child gets behind the wheel, they will be more likely to do so safely.
Respect the Road – and Other Drivers
Teach your children to have respect for the rules of the road as well as for the other drivers who share it, with your own actions. Obey traffic laws, slow down when necessary for construction or poor road conditions and make sure to always use turn signals and wear your seatbelt. Simply making a habit of doing all these things consistently will give your children a strong model for safety and good driving.
Although we can all become frustrated with other drivers on the road at times, modeling a calm and respectful attitude towards them will go a long way towards showing your children how they should respond to stressful or frustrating situations behind the wheel. Losing your temper while you are driving is never a good idea – it distracts you and can lead to accidents. Not only that, but when your children see you become angry with other drivers, they will pick up the habit as well. Keep angry comments to yourself and don’t allow frustration to cause you to do dangerous things such as tailgating or cutting other drivers off. Remember that your child is watching – is that how you want them to drive?
Bad Habits are Easy to Pass On
Your bad driving habits will be easily picked up by your kids if you don’t do your best to curb them. You may not realize it, but you likely have several bad habits behind the wheel – most drivers do. Distracted driving is one of the most common and most dangerous habits of today’s drivers. If your child sees you talking on the phone, eating, checking text messages or any of the other things drivers commonly do today, it passes on the message that it’s ok to take your attention off the road.
Don’t allow your kids to provide a distraction and make it clear to them that whatever they need will have to wait until the car is safely parked. Reaching for dropped items, changing DVDs for the kids to watch, offering snacks and drinks – all of these things that parents do to keep their children happy in the car are dangerous and a major distraction. If your child really needs something, pull over to take care of it. Tell them calmly and in no uncertain terms that while you are driving you need to keep your attention on the road and you will be happy to help them when you’ve arrived at your destination.
Take an honest look at your driving habits. Do you drive too fast, speed up to beat red lights or roll through stops signs? Awareness is the best way to start changing these behaviours and show your children good habits instead.
Creating Good Drivers for the Future
One day, perhaps not so far off, your children will be behind the wheel. New drivers are at the highest risk of accidents due to inexperience, and often make mistakes that can result in increased car insurance rates and much worse. Give them the best possible chance when they head out on the road by providing them with a safe role model as a driver. With your good habits as a guideline, they will already be on the way to forming good habits for themselves.
Teach your children to drive calmly and avoid distractions by doing so yourself and they will be much more likely to make good decisions when it’s their turn to get behind the wheel. You’ll help keep the roads safer for the next generation of drivers.