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Road safety and teenagers

Maria Fernandes

Speed thrills but can also kill, hence it is important to teach your tee ager the importance of driving carefully and responsibly from a young age.

Today, parents giving their children cars and bikes is very common. In some cases the child is not yet eighteen but drives and rides without a legal licence. What is surprising though is that often parents don’t mind side-stepping the law and letting their children take up driving earlier. Parents often feel that if their child is perfectly able and capable of driving at sixteen, why should he wait until eighteen before getting a license?

By doing so and cheating the system, parents are giving their children the subtle message that he/she is above the law and it is okay to circumvent the law, as long as they can get away with it. Haven’t we heard enough of horror stories of underage drivers/riders and the sad end to their adventures? So why as parents are we encouraging this? If we want our children to uphold the principles of integrity and honesty, are we then setting a good example?

Teenagers by their very nature and lack of experience, tend to be reckless which is further intensified in the presence of their friends. They want to appear cool and daring and often get carried away especially when driving. Hence we often see the most reckless and rashest drivers/riders are teenagers or someone just out of their teens. This is due to the fact that for them driving is a new and exciting experience; it is also a step towards achieving independence and they get a rush from it.

Once your child is old enough to drive and has a valid licence, go out with him/her a few times before you let them drive on their own. Let them gain some confidence. Confidence does not mean speed and parents need to drive home the importance of road safety to their teenagers.

Using a cell phone while driving is nearly as bad as driving drunk. Make sure your teenager is aware that using a cell phone while driving often causes accidents. Of course, there will be situations where they will just need to use their phone no matter what. Teach them that if they need to use their cell phone, they should pull up to the left in a safe spot, make sure to turn on the hazard lights and then use the phone.

As a parent, your key role is to teach your child to be safe when he or she is on the road, even when you are not in the car. By teaching your teen the things listed above, you will not only make the roads safer for your teen but everyone else too.

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