Do as I say, not as I do?
I was recently out with my son when he pointed out the driver in front of us was not making a smooth turn. He thought the driver went too far into the intersection before turning left. First, I was impressed my son has the “driving instructor bug” in his system. Second, I was surprised he’s actually watched my driving to notice when a driver wasn’t driving smoothly. But why shouldn’t he notice?
For the first sixteen plus years of our lives, we watch our family members when they drive. We grew up with our parents taking us everywhere we have to go, so does it surprise anyone that kids actually pay attention to what we’re doing?
My son asked why I stop with more space in front of me than other drivers. Since there was no one behind me, I had to make sure I could move up if the driver behind came up too fast to stop in time. I also explained why I position my vehicle so no other driver is driving directly beside me while we were traveling. It’s a staggered formation and that gives me a chance to change lanes in case of trouble. He liked that one too.
This made me think about all the things we do as parents when we drive. Should we drive one way and expect our children to drive differently? We can’t use the “do as I say, not as I do” saying when it comes to driving. If you notice the new driver in the family driving in a way you don’t like, take a look in the mirror. Did they get it from you?
We work hard to gain credibility, but it can be lost in a matter of seconds. At Young Drivers of Canada, we show parents how to remain calm when the new driver isn’t driving smoothly. We teach them what to say and do to make the driving process easier for the new driver. This seems to make the parents think more about their own driving, although some parents claim their new driver can’t show them anything new!
We forget we have passengers who can hear us. We forget about the cursing. We forget about our lazy driving habits. Show this new driver you mean business. Lead by example and they will follow. What have you got to lose? Oh yeah, your credibility.