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Parents: What Do You Need To Know?.
PARENTS: Do you want your child to end up on the evening news and as a road statistic because your teenage driver did not know how to keep out of danger when on the roads and believing the driving test is the be all and end all in driver training?
The people who are most at risk and most like to die, end up in a wheel chair or have life threatening injuries sustained from a vehicle collision are newly qualified drivers and drivers under the age of 25. Right now your child is in that bracket so what are you going to do to make sure they are safe?
Sadly the driving test is not designed to sufficiently reduce the road deaths we endure on UK roads each year. Don’t believe us? Well rather than asking for statistics just turn on the local news tonight or tomorrow, perhaps look in the Leicester Mercury and you will come across a tragic story where a group of teenagers lost their lives.
Some say cars are too powerful or new drivers should not be able to drive at night, but the fact of the matter is the driving test is a test of ability and lays down a marker. However as we have just proven getting your driving licence does not mean you are safe and for some new drivers it means they are invincible on the road.
So what do you need as a parent to make sure your son or daughter is safe. Start by getting involved with their learning, this does not have to mean teaching them but open dialogue with the driving instructor and work with the instructor to enforce the issue if safety. While shootings hot the headlines in America, actually more people die because of being in a car accident, just think on that for a while. The car they will drive is a fully loaded and dangerous weapon, a moment of frivolity will bring them much closer to a policeman knocking on your door with awful news.
Asides from speaking with the driving instructor, understand what is takes to pass the driving test and encourage your son or daughter to adopt a serious attitude to driving. Sure you can have a great time on your lessons and in the car when you have your licence, but to be able to achieve that sensibly the learner needs the right attitude.
Skipping lessons because something else has come up is a slap in the face to safety. Going about the driving lessons half heartedly shows a lack of maturity. But having your eyes wide open, listening, asking questions and understanding will help the learner to keep safe.
If you are a driver yourself and your teenager is a passenger with you ask them to spot hazards, see how many hazards they can spot in a minute. The dog on the pavement walking with its owner but with a lead; the car emerging from the side road; on coming traffic; the driver putting their child in the car seat while on the roadside. These are all very common hazards which you are well aware of, but is your son and daughter? Approaching driver training even from this angle will have a real positive impact on their driving because the issues of safety is being shown not only by the driving instructor but also by you.
At this point some parents my say “why am I paying for lessons if I have to do this?” It is your choice, it is your child and as stated before the driving test isn’t a sufficient marker to ensure safety. The professional driving instructor will help develop technique and understanding but it is the parent who has the long term relationship who can really have that added impact on the importance of driver safety. It was you who kept them away from the fire, the river, the stairs or from any sort of potential trouble. You have that relationship that any other driving instructor will never have so please use it and please work together with the instructor to help keep your son or daughter safe.
If at any time you wish to join the driving lessons of your child then you are most welcome to.