Hey, Mom and Dad. The next time you’re in the car, take a look at that sweet, smiling face in your rearview mirror. Notice how those young, innocent eyes are soaking up every red light you run, every time you don’t use a turn signal, every phone call you take, every text you send and every breath you take (every move you make)?
The police may not catch you, but the youngsters you’re raising are taking notes, and when they make it to 16 (in some states, at least) they’re going to drive just like you. At least so says a recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
The study says it’s not just the bad habits you practice every time you drive (turn signals are not for decoration, by the way). Send a text just once while behind the wheel and you’ve implicitly given your preteen permission to do the same.
“Your kids are always observing the decisions you make behind the wheel, and in fact have likely been doing so since they were big enough to see over the dashboard,” Liberty Mutual driving safety expert Dave Melton said in a summary of the survey. “You may think you only occasionally read a text at a stop light or take the odd thirty-second phone call, but kids are seeing that in a different way. Answering your phone once while driving, even if only for a few seconds, legitimizes the action for your children and they will, in turn, see that as acceptable behavior.”
So parents, behave yourselves immediately, or so help us, we’ll stop this car right here!