What are you teaching your kids about driving?

By admin
17 July 2013

Children emulate their parents ? the good and the bad habits. Make sure the lessons you inadvertently teach them about driving aren’t all the bad ones.

Tragically, road traffic injuries are the world’s leading cause of death for young people (aged 15 to 29 years). They’re preventable in many, if not most cases, so the question is – why do they continue to kill our youth?

What are youngsters doing on the road that makes them more susceptible to being involved in road accidents? The answer lies, simply, in their behaviour. It’s a fact that aggressive or risky driving is responsible for up to 80 per cent of crashes on our roads and attitudes towards this type of driving are developed from an early age.

When kids grow up, they tend to look to their elders to see how they do it. How does daddy cook the pasta? Which routes on the road does mommy take to school? So, it’s no wonder they might emulate your bad habits too – and this includes bad road habits. So what lessons are you teaching your kids about driving on the road?

As the adult or parent, your behaviour has a direct effect on the people around you, especially those who are young and impressionable. Have you ever considered what your child thinks while sitting in the back of the car, when you swear at that taxi driver or flip him a middle finger, drive at speeds well beyond the speed limit or talk on your cellphone while behind the wheel? This behaviour is a message to passengers and observers that disobeying the rules is acceptable.

This kind of behaviour might have a lasting effect on young, susceptible passengers. And it can also contribute to the cycle of aggression South African road users find themselves in.

So it would serve you well to stop to examine your behaviour the next time you’re behind the wheel. Here are 8 simple steps to start with!

8 simple steps to keep you safe on the road:

  1. Buckle up ? make sure it’s the first thing you and your passengers do as soon as you get in the car.
  2. Stay calm ? getting irritated or angry won’t improve the situation and only serves to increase your blood pressure.
  3. Play nice ?avoid foul language and rude hand gestures.
  4. Avoid the booze ? never drink and then drive.
  5. Follow the rules ?always obey the rules of the road, even when you think no one’s watching.
  6. Think of others ? be mindful of other road users. Pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers all have a right to be there as well.
  7. Leave the cell ? there’s no harm in calling the person back later. And texting should never be done while driving.
  8. Obey the speed limit – always!

Road safety starts with you! But the effects of negligence reach far beyond. We all need to make a concerted effort to protect ourselves and others on the road, and our habits are influential, so it’s best we’re wary so we can combat bad ones.

So, next time you’re driving, try to keep in mind what lessons you’d like to leave behind. Now you can set a better example than you did yesterday.

- Faiza Mallick

Source: The Automobile Association of South Africa

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