“My Kid Wouldn’t Do That”
My teenage son is preparing to take his written test for his learner’s permit next week. Until now, I haven’t spent much time talking to him about being a responsible driver. This weekend my wife and I sat with him and watched Dateline’s “My Kid Would Never Do That: Driving.” They focused on teens making decisions about texting while driving, getting in the car with a teen that had been drinking or said they were high. The premise of the show was parents secretly putting their teens to the test to see what they would do if faced with these scenarios. All of the parents said they had some sort of conversation with their child about what not to do and to call home if they need a ride. The parents were 99% sure their teens would not get in the car under these circumstances, but most of them did.
My 19 year old daughter started driving when she was 15. I would like to believe she would not put herself in harm’s way. My wife always discussed things with her like not driving with the music too loud, letting her friends change the radio station and answer her cell phone if it rings, and making sure her friends buckle up. The best we could hope for is some of the things we taught her would kick in at the right time when faced with those situations.
Last year one of my daughter’s friends was driving from her college in SC to pick her up in NC, so they could come home for the weekend. It was around 8am when her friend fell asleep behind the wheel. She lost control of the car and it spun around 360 degrees on the highway ending up facing the opposite way. Fortunately, there were few cars on the road and she was not injured. When my daughter reached home, she told us what happened to her friend on the way to pick her up. I was pleased when she told me she stayed on the phone with her friend until she reached my daughter’s dorm. Needless to say, my daughter drove from NC to Atlanta.
As my son spends this week preparing to pass his test, I will definitely take time to go over do’s and don’ts of the roads, peer pressure, driving with his friends and obeying the law(s). Parents please take the time to talk to your children about what they need to do when getting in the car with friends. Hopefully, they will be the voice of reason in a real life situation.
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