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Back to School-Talk to your teen about driving
Itís September, many teenagers in this country will be driving themselves to high school in this country as the age requirement is 16, 17, and 18 for different states. Other teenagers will be driving to college for the first time and keeping a car on or off campus as regulations permit. Itís time to have a serious discussion about driving with your children. Actually itís past time.
While my children were growing up I always talked to them about driving. As situations would arise, I would ask them about how they would have handled it. When we differed, I went into details about why I thought they should have use another method. Letís talk about how you can help your children be better drivers until the time when their skill levels catch up to their egos.
Use space cushion driving
You canít hit a vehicle, or have an accident with another car if the other car isnít
around you. When I drive on a highway, I do not drive with cars right next to me.
If somebody who wants to drive next to me, I either speed up or slow down, I do not
want company. When a problem happens and the guy next to you has no where to go,
where does he go, right into you, thatís where. He canít hit me if Iím not next to him.
Beware of cars with goods tied onto them
Never drive behind a car or a truck thatís carrying stuff on his roof or sticking out of his trunk. First of all, you are working with the assumption that the items are secure on his vehicle. Do you really think they tied that ladder on good and tight? Has the driver been using the same stressed out weather worn rope for years to tie things onto his vehicle? You do not want to be riding behind a vehicle when that ladder or bicycle comes off.
The left lane is a passing lane
The left lane is a passing lane, it is not meant to be driven in constantly. Only in America do cars drive continually in the left lane, forcing other cars to pass on the right. You should be driving in the center lane, and right lane. The left lane is for passing. You would not believe the number of accidents that occur from driving in the left lane, annoying the driver behind you whoís trying to make time. Drive to the right, and you will get into less trouble with other drivers.
The problem with drinking alcohol is reflex time-
Talk to any researcher on alcohol and they will tell you that alcohol consumption slows down your reflexes. The more you consume the slower your reflexes become. People who drive motorcycles and have accidents have two things in common, half of them are unlicensed, and half are drunk at the time of the incident. Booze slows down reaction time and in driving, reaction time is everything. This is why you donít want to drink and drive. With young drivers itís even more dangerous because they donít have years of driving experience under their belt to have a fund of experience to fall back on when they get into trouble.
Parking lots are unbelievably dangerous
More accidents occur in parking lots like supermarkets, malls, movies, and other mass parking facilities than just about any other location. The reason is that drivers feel secure in the location and tend to drive at faster speeds than whatís reasonable. You canít see around corners, and therefore you should be driving slower when you canít see. I have witness people racing around corners in parking lots countless times at excess speeds and running head on into another car. Take it easy in parking lots and go slower when you have less vision.
Look in the direction that you are driving
When you back up, turn your body around and look out the back window. Do not face forward and back up, even if you are using mirrors. You have to be able to see the blind spots. This is especially true when driving an SUV. Many times you will be higher than the driver in the vehicle behind you. This means you will have no idea who is behind you. Yes, you should be using mirrors as well, but you actually want to see out of the back window if thatís the direction you are going in.
No cell phones, no food, no pens, no paper
When you are driving, the only thing in your hands should be the steering wheel. Forget about cell phones and food. Concentrate on the road, and you will stay alive to eat at another time.
Build a cushion of experience
You have to learn to drive consciously before you can learn to drive unconsciously. How much you have to turn the steering wheel to make a turn is something I do unconsciously. Until youíve done it a hundred times or more, it is not a natural move to you. You need road time or time behind the wheel to build up the natural experience that is now intuitive to drivers who have been on the road for a while. Take it easy at first, your time will come.
Know your limitations and stay within them
Donít push your skills to the wall. If you are tired, stop, get out, rest, take a walk, do anything but drive a car. People fall asleep at the wheel and never wake up, the crash kills them.
Know who you are driving with
I can teach you everything I know about driving. The problem is what happens when you get into the car as a passenger with some other driver who I havenít taught. A hot shot who drinks and drives, or a dare devil whose cashing checks with his speed that his car canít handle. Think about who you are getting into that car with. If they are drunk, donít even think about getting in. The graveyard isnít far behind for drunks; itís only a question of when.
Most professional truck drivers doing 50,000 plus miles per year, can go years and sometimes decades without an accident. Itís because they have implemented the concepts that I have mentioned above. Be one of the ones that make it through the school year. Be smart, drive smart.
Goodbye and Good Luck
About the Author: Richard Stoyeckís background includes being a limited partner at Bear Stearns, Senior VP at Lehman Brothers, Kuhn Loeb, Arthur Andersen, and KPMG. Educated at Pace University, NYU, and Harvard University, today he runs Rockefeller Capital Partners and StocksAtBottom.com