Practice What You Preach: Safe Driving Habits for Parents & Teens

Hypocrisy can be the downfall of effective parenting. Swearing is outlawed in your house, yet you may let an obscenity slip here and there. You lecture your teen on your zero tolerance for alcohol policy while pouring a glass of Pinot Noir. Your iPhone is glued to your palm, yet you take away your teen's phone because of too much texting. We've all been there, but with teenage drivers, not practicing what you preach can send the wrong message to your teens and may lead to them developing unsafe driving habits and worse, getting into a car accident.

Not only may your driving habits slant toward the side of not the safest, you are probably also completely out of date on how much driving laws have evolved since you first passed your driver's test way back in the day (on your fifth attempt). Avoid parental hypocrisy, and keep your teen alive behind the wheel by freshening up on your own traffic knowledge and practicing what you re-learn.

Safe Driving Resources

According to a report by SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving), 66 percent of teen drivers think their parents do not follow the same traffic rules that they teach their children. About 90 percent of young drivers also said their parents speed and use cell phones while driving. Stand up against dangerous teen driving by re-educating yourself on the laws of the roads and practicing non-dangerous driving habits. Here are a few ideas to get started.

  • Driving-Tests.org: Put yourself in the Converse sneakers of your teen, and take a practice sample permit test for free. For more information on new driver's basics, check out Driving-Tests.org's Beginner Driver's Guide. You'll be amused at unbelievable traffic laws and learn valuable tips for navigating traffic jams.
  • DriveSafe.ly: Eliminate dangerous distractions with this mobile app that reads texts and emails out loud and in real-time. You can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while DriveSafe.ly stays connected for you.
  • Traffic.FindLaw.com: Get details on your state's traffic laws, from traffic statues and DUI penalties to speed restrictions and driving manuals.

There are also some apps you and your teen can use to help you both practice safer driving. Some of these apps include:

  • Text Arrest: This app will completely disable your phone's texting and email capabilities while you are in the car. The phone's screen will lock so you are not tempted to look at texts while driving. ZoomSafer is an app with similar functions that works for BlackBerry and Windows Phones.
  • Drivesafe.ly Pro: Teens and adult drivers can still stay connected in an emergency with this app that enables texts and emails to be read aloud automatically. Drivers can hear important messages without having to press a button or look away from the road. This is compatible with all phone platforms.
  • Dangers of Distracted Driving: This app animates and explains several scenarios of distracted driving. It demonstrates the consequences of driving with distractions.

Fun Driving "Did You Knows?"

As you're updating your driving knowledge, the following six fun factoids on new traffic laws may interest and apply to you and your family.

  • Oregonians caught holding a cell phone while driving could be fined a maximum of $500. And don't even think about smoking if there's a child in the car, it's illegal. Plus, smoking is really bad for you.
  • Californians can text while driving, but it better be with a hands-free device. You and Siri are about to get real close. Oh, and Californian drivers under age 18 are restricted from using any type of electronic device in any way while driving. Sorry, kids.
  • The speed limit increased from 65 to 70 for Illinois drivers. Not that any motorist takes that for granted, but that's about as exciting as a 10 percent discount.
  • In New Hampshire, children younger than age 6 must use a child restraint. Once they grow to be 57 inches, they can get some dignity, ditch the booster seat and wear an adult seat belt.
  • The regulations for renewing a driver's license have changed for Nevada drivers in 2014. Check ConsumerReports.com to get the details on how to handle renewals for drivers born in even or odd-numbered years.
  • Colorado motorists who have lost their driver's license for one year or longer because of drunk driving can now apply for an interlock-restricted license. You must wait 30 days with no driving though. Also, don't drink and drive. As the saying goes, "drive hammered, get nailed."
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