A recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions shows that children pick up on their parents' bad driving habits and will mimic that behavior once they are old enough to drive.
"Your kids are always observing the decisions you make behind the wheel, and in fact have likely been doing so since they were big enough to see over the dashboard," said Dave Melton, driving safety expert from Liberty Mutual. "You may think you only occasionally read a text at a stoplight or take the odd thirty-second phone call, but kids are seeing that in a different way. Answering your phone once while driving, even if only for a few seconds, legitimizes the action for your children and they will, in turn, see that as acceptable behavior."
A separate report by AutoTrade.com showed that motorists attitudes on distracted driving differ from their actual behavior. The survey showed that 90 percent of respondents support laws that would ban texting or emailing while driving and 57 percent said they would support a ban on talking while driving.
The report also showed that 86 percent of passengers reported feelings of anxiety while they were in the car with someone who is driving and texting or emailing, while 51 percent reported similar feelings while the driver was talking on the phone.
The survey showed that their own behaviors did not align with their attitudes against phone usage while driving. Of the same respondents, 29 percent said they engage in occasional texting and emailing while driving themselves, while 48 percent said they made calls occasionally.
Parents are encouraged to set a good example while driving. It is also important, especially with many kids bringing their cars back to school with them, to head to a local auto service center and have their cars checked out to make sure everything is working properly.
"Making sure the college-bound vehicle gets a passing grade will give both the student and their parents peace of mind for the drive back to school," said Rich White, Car Care Council executive director. "It's always a good idea to inspect a vehicle and have any repairs done near home, at a familiar repair shop."
Students should make sure their fluids are all topped off before the winter comes, making sure brakes are sufficient and the lighting in their vehicle is working properly.