If I were asked if there was any way to completely avoid car accidents, I would say yes. And then I would suggest that they should just stay home.

We had driver education in high school. It was part of our curriculum. We could take physical education, or, we could choose an elective, which could be driver ed. Our assistant coach was our driving instructor and we had driving simulators in a classroom. They were like bumper cars with theatre screens. How appropriate is THAT, to learn how to drive in a bumper car. I believe that driver education was better then.

Budget cuts have forced many school districts to eliminate driver education programs, leaving parents no option but to pay for private training or to train them themselves. With that said, parents need to take an active role in teaching their kids to drive. Especially at night and in bad weather. Every minute you spend teaching your kids, benefits them (and others) in the long run.

While most states require that parents (or guardians) ride along with their kid for 40 hours before they can get a driver license, most parents do a good job teaching them the importance of controlling the car, but are not so good at teaching them skills to avoid accidents. Now, there are new techniques and guides that have been developed out of recent scientific research.  

The study shows that after teaching basic vehicle handling skills, few parents went on to teach next-step driving skills, such as spotting and avoiding a potential hazard. Slowing when approaching a crosswalk where pedestrians might appear, or in a neighborhood where children are at play, who may hide behind parked cars or in alleyways, are just a few lessons to teach. Drilling them on maneuvers that will avoid hazards and how to develop hazard recognition and judgment, making left turns in an intersection and how to merge (especially onto and off of high speed roadways) are super important.

Insurance company State Farm, funded research and development to help keep teen drivers safe. And they offer a program called “Road Trips,” at teendriving.statefarm.com.  This program helps teach your teen how to drive on more varied roads (at night and in bad weather).

You want your kid to get a good start at driving and you should never try to push them, but let them progress at their own pace, so that they will feel more confident behind the wheel. Teach them both the KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS to help them to become better drivers.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson

Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Avoid Car Accidents – Comedy Defensive Driving