How to role model for your teenage driver

Can parents be positive driving role models for their teenagers? Timothy Smith, teen driving expert explains what parents can do to make model safe driving habits for their new driver.
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How to role model for your teenage driver

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For better or worse, you've already established an example by your driving skills and behavior for your teen. He knows whether you speed, talk on the phone, use your turn signals or are rude to other drivers. So the first thing is to own up to your strengths and liabilities as a driver. One of the disarming things you can do is to hone in on area where you're less than stellar and tell your teen, "Look, I'm not a very good role model here. I don’t want you to follow my bad habit here. There are a lot of things I'd be proud to have you emulate, this isn't one of them." And they're not just observing us, they're following our behavior. Research has shown that teens of parent who have multiple traffic violations and crashes have a much higher incidence of traffic violations and crashes too. So what you do behind the wheel has a huge impact on your own teen's driving. So, think about changing your behavior a bit as well, especially during this critical training process. It's a small price to pay for the importance of that message. So, when you're trying to be a good role model, you're going to have to modify, probably, your own behavior as well as impose some restrictions that your teen would probably - rather you didn't have. It's just what you have to do to deal with a single, most dangerous activity your child is going to undergo while under your care. So bring the speed down a bit, use your turn signals, get off the phone and resist the urge to yell at that guy in front of you. You're being watched.
TEEN, Responsibilities, Driving

Can parents be positive driving role models for their teenagers? Timothy Smith, teen driving expert explains what parents can do to make model safe driving habits for their new driver.

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Expert Bio

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Timothy Smith

Author & Teen Driving Expert

Timothy Smith is a healthcare executive living in the Chicago area with his wife and three children.   He got involved with teen driving several years ago when a number of teenagers were killed in multiple crashes near his home, virtually all due to driver error.   His search for information to help his teens avoid car crashes yielded little of value, so he became a certified driving instructor, got trained and licensed to race cars, took defensive driving courses and ended up writing Crashproof Your Kids: Make Your Teen A Safer, Smarter Driver.  He is also Chairman of Aegis Mobility, a software company which has developed technology to manage and reduce cell phone use while driving. 

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