Remember when you were little how your parents seemed like giants to you. Not just in their stature but in how they used to wield the power of adulthood with such cool casualty. While little things like being able to drive a car or use a credit card were so quotidian for them, to you they were acts that verged on being superhuman. We’re hard wired to see our parents as the models of adulthood. We model our expectations of everything an adult says and does upon them, and so too is it with our own kids. It’s strangely endearing when we see our mannerisms of speech and turns of phrase pop up in our kids’ vocabulary and a wonderful moment of affirmation when we see them use the lessons we have taught them in life without prompting.
Kids are like sponges, absorbing and assimilating the data they receive from all around them… Whether we want them to or not. Thus, while they can show us the best of ourselves, they can also show us the worst of ourselves. It’s less than flattering when we see our bad habits mirrored in our kids’ behavior, but when it comes to our bad habits on the road, we know we need to draw the line. When our kids reach the age at which they’ll be able to get their learner’s permit they are likely to have picked up on some of our bad habits. Let’s look at some of the worst offenders and nip them in the bud before they compromise our kids’ safety.
This is one of those bad behaviors that is so commonplace that it’s become normalized. It’s all too tempting to adopt a laissez faire attitude to the speed limit, treating it as optional rather than mandatory. A speed limit is neither optional, nor is it a target. When our kids see us speeding repeatedly they will inevitably grow up with a lack of respect for the speed limit and drive accordingly. Unfortunately, even a small increase in speed will inevitably increase their risk of a crash involving injury by 3% and their risk of a fatal crash by 4-5%.
Attacking a yellow light
For some drivers (come on, we’ve all done it), a yellow light is as to a red flag for a bull. It encourages them to “attack it”, accelerating towards it at speed before it turns red. As any SafeMotorist’s adult driver’s ed course will tell you, however, there are few more dangerous habits you can pass on to our kids. All it takes is for someone on an intersecting road to do the same to result in a serious collision.
Hogging the middle lane on the freeway
Pretty much everyone is guilty of this every now and then, and while we may not perceive it as being immediately dangerous, it can slow the flow of traffic and place you in the blind spots of other drivers changing lanes. It may seem innocuous, but it’s an irritating and potentially dangerous bad habit.