Forget vampires, werewolves, Jason, and Freddy Krueger. There isn't much scarier to a parent than the idea that their kid will one day be a teen driver. And because parenting a teen pretty much means coming to realize that EVERYTHING that goes wrong is your fault, it's time you realize that you play a big-time role in making the roadways a terrifying place to be.
Basically, today's parents suck at teaching their kids to drive. Notice that emphasis on "today's." Our generation, a new study claims, is actually WORSE than our parents were at the whole teen driver thing.
Yeah, I didn't think that was possible either. I remember my mom sucking her teeth and shrieking. A lot. Try being brand new at this whole driving thing and having a high-pitched wail thisclose to your ear. It's nerve-wracking people!
But at least she was paying attention.
Insurance company State Farm surveyed parents and their kids and found that 52 percent of Moms and Dads admitted to fiddling with their cellphones when they should have been keeping an eye on their kids' navigating skills. And the way the teens tell it, that's a conservative number. The number of kids copping to distracted parents was closer to 61 percent.
On the one hand, I get it. Some drivers make you so nervous that you have to do something other than watch the road, lest your heart actually does climb up your throat and come out your nose. But unlike your 30-something-year-old best friend, your teenager is someone whose driving you can criticize. Loudly. And hopefully constructively. How else do parents expect their kids to learn?
And is beating the next level of Angry Birds really that important when you consider more than 2,300 drivers between 15 and 20 years old are killed annually? That more than half of American teens are now more likely to get into a wreck in their first MONTH with their license than any other time in their first two years on the road? If it is, do me a favor, call a friend to drive you to the DMV. It's time you turn in your license.
Do you think it's OK to zone out and play with your phone while your teen is driving?
Image via Wendy Piersall/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside