I distinctly recall counting down the days when I could take Driver’s Ed during my sophomore year of high school. I was so excited because I had one of the coolest teachers in the school. I thought the class would be a piece of cake but Driver’s Ed was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. There’s so much to know about the rules of the road and maintaining a car.
I recently had a discussion with one of my friends who told me she was teaching her 18 year-old to drive. Her daughter, Shani, is a sophomore in college, and needs to commute 35 miles each way from the San Fernando Valley to California State Dominguez Hills University twice a week. Her mom worried about how Shani would handle not just the streets, but maneuvering the freeways. More importantly, she wondered if Shani knew enough about car maintenance. According to the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, more than 5,000 teens are killed in automobile accidents each year. And, among the 12 percent of inexperienced drivers on the road, tire-related issues such as poor tire tread or inadequately inflated tires played a role in the 2.2 million annual vehicle accidents. I passed along to Shani and her mom, Penny, information that I recently learned through Michelin’s Beyond the Driving Test campaign, then crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
Michelin’s Beyond the Driving Test campaign is an initiative, which aspires to reach younger children (i.e. future drivers), along with improving the safety of teen drivers. I’m preparing Teagan for Driver’s Ed super duper early! Although she’s only 7, Teagan is already conscious regarding certain rules of the road. “Mom, no texting while driving,” Teagan hollers. “Roger that,” I answer back. When I asked my daughter about her own driving fears she said, “It scares me when drivers go crazy speeding in between cars!” She softly inhales, while gazing deeply into the dark grey clouds as I’m driving. “Mom, looks like it’s gonna rain. Maybe you should turn on your headlights in case it gets dark,” she says matter-of-factly. Hmm.
Should I become upset because she’s turning into a backseat driver? Nah, I’m definitely proud of Teagan’s driver’s safety awareness. Because our cars have been in the shop more than I care to recall, Teagan’s eyes occasionally wander toward my dashboard searching for the horrid maintenance light. She knows any light on my dashboard indicates that it’s time to service the car. Even when nothing is lit, Teagan will ask, “Mom, when was the last time you changed the oil?” Hmm. I think my husband is secretly training Teagan as well about car maintenance. I have to admit. Teagan knows more than just the difference between the colors of the traffic signals and stop signs.
She and I talk frankly about how car safety laws constantly change each year (www.nhtsa.gov). Teagan is also a huge proponent of the seat belt. I can see why! Car safety and seat belts/car seats have been a part of her entire young life. She’s always reminding my husband and I to buckle up or as we say, “Are you clicked?” I welcome her
preventative safety measures.
By teaching proper tire maintenance, Michelin’s Beyond the Driving Test campaign helps ensure younger children and teen drivers are aware of tire safety. The American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA) is the winner of the $100,000 Michelin/FIA Teen Road Safety Grant. With this grant, communities nationwide are called upon to increase tire safety and maintenance, including one day training sessions. I’m sure both Penny and Shani would be pleased by this initiative. Penny was recently awakened at midnight because Shani had a flat on the freeway. She was on her way home from work, while driving on a worn tire. Fortunately, her car didn’t crash.
Teagan actually loves collecting toy cars and is especially curious on the dynamics of car’s with a spoiler. She has lots of questions about cars in general in addition to car safety, which I welcome. And, Michelin’s Beyond the Driving Test campaign will also help Teagan be far more informed about driving and car safety than I could I ever imagine…
Join the discussion on Twitter on March 23rth by following #TMOM and #SafeTires! I’ll be there and would love for you to join and share your perspective on teen driving safety and education in the US.
* This is a sponsored post for SheBuysCars.