These driving tips, sent my way by Sarah Robinson, an engineer and Michelin test-track driver, were focused on teenage drivers and safety. They’re a great refresher course for adults, too. With a teenager in the car, I often think he’s a short time away from driving himself, so I need to be even more aware of the example I set behind the wheel.
Too quickly, many cars become restaurants, offices, and make-up stations, not to mention a virtual telephone center. Safety is so important, and these are some great reminders to stay focused on the #1 job: driving safely without distraction.
Each year, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest 100 days for teen drivers and their passengers, according to the American Automobile Association. To minimize this risk, parents should learn the facts and teach their children how to drive safely.
Robinson teaches teens safe-driving skills and offers parents tips on maintaining a safe vehicle.
- Parents’ role: Parents can play a significant role in teaching their teenage drivers basic safety.
- Be a good role model when you are in the driver’s seat.
- Establish safe-driving rules and enforce them.
- Enroll young drivers in defensive-driving courses.
- Explain the responsibilities and dangers of handling a 3,000-plus-pound vehicle.
- Situational awareness: To keep yourself out of danger, nothing is more effective than being aware of your surroundings.
- Vision: Train your eyes to anticipate danger, focus as far ahead as you can see and use your peripheral vision to observe your immediate surroundings.
- Stay focused: Distractions can result in fatal accidents. Parents should set rules limiting the number of passengers riding with teenage drivers. Using a cell phone, text messaging, changing the radio station or iPod tunes, or applying makeup should never be done while driving.
- Speed and distance: Obey the speed limit, adjust your vehicle’s speed to match weather conditions and maintain a proper distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
- Defensive-driving class: Practice is the best defense against accidents. A third-party instructor often can influence teens more effectively than the limitations of the typical parent–teen dynamic. Instructors are trained to teach teens car-control skills so they can avoid or minimize accidents.
- Seating position: Proper seating position maximizes your ability to control your vehicle. Be sure drivers are positioned with arms the proper distance from the steering wheel and legs from the brake and gas pedals.
- Set mirrors properly: Side mirrors can help maximize the view of the road, rather than reflecting the side of the car.
- Steering position: For optimal control, hands should be placed at the three-o’clock and nine-o’clock positions on the steering wheel.
- Tire safety: Parents should teach their teenage drivers to check the pressure of all four tires once a month. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33,000 injuries and 700 deaths occur every year due to under-inflated tires.
- Safety equipment: Prepare the vehicle with the necessary safety equipment and an emergency kit. Cars equipped with stability-control systems, anti-lock-braking system and airbags help reduce accidents as well as the severity of injuries if an accident occurs.
More information on Michelin’s site, including tire care tips and how to detect tire problems.
Editor’s Note: These tips are great; I love the approach and especially the idea of modeling safe driving for our kids and especially teens. Side note/MomTini tip: Always keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your car. We’ve added cold packs to the mix since we’re frequently looking for a grown up “boo boo bunny!”
What ideas do you have for car & driving safety?