Did you know that more than half of teens say they want more time behind the wheel with their parent, and over two-thirds of parents wish they spent more time teaching their teen to drive? Entertainment reporter and mom, Nancy O’Dell joined me yesterday to discuss the Allstate Foundation and National Safety Council’s Drive It Home initiative to help ensure teens are safe and prepared when hitting the road!
Candace Rose: What is the Drive At Home initiative?
Nancy O’Dell: “Well, it’s this wonderful program that was started by the Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council, and it’s a great resource for parents who have new teen drivers in their family, like me- I have a stepson, Tyler who is 17 years old and just got his permit. As you can imagine I’m very scared, my husband is very scared, Tyler is very scared. When you hear the statistics about car crashes being the number one killer of teens and knowing that that year after they get their license is the most dangerous time in their life because that’s when the crashes tend to happen. And you think these crashes are caused by them texting or being distracted by passengers in the car, but in reality it’s just caused by them not having experience. They’re caused by inexperience.
The Drive It Home program is encouraging parents to spend at least 30 minutes a week in the car with their kids because what they really need is the experience and to be able to have you there as a parent to help and guide them.
I don’t know if you remember this but it’s very scary when you first start driving. You don’t have the years of experience that we have had where we just take things for granted and do things intuitively. It’s all new to them and they need you there. The Allstate Foundation found out that more than half of the teens that they talked to wished they’d had more time in the car with their parents, this is something that teens want as well.”
Candace Rose: What has your experience been like teaching your teen to drive?
Nancy O’Dell: “It’s interesting! It’s when you’re in the car and you realize that they don’t know the simple things that we take for granted. For example, I was in the car with Tyler and he was changing lanes and he didn’t look in his rear view mirror as he was changing lanes. And you realize that this is just because he doesn’t have the experience and he didn’t know when he was trying to stop at a stop sign – he didn’t know when to start braking. He was actually just rolling through the stop sign, which could have led to a crash until we discussed it. And because he was getting the experience with me he was getting more experience on the road to be able to know when to start braking and it was starting to feel more natural for him.
Also one of the things that we do- one day it started raining and we took that as an opportunity because of the advice given on the DriveItHome.org website, and they said when it starts raining you naturally might go I have a new driver, I’m not going to take them out in the rain. But you need to take that opportunity when it rains to get in the car with your new driver and drive with them because you want those first times with you in the car or to be with an experienced driver in the car and not with them being alone. You don’t want them to be out and about alone when it rains for the first time and they have to drive themselves home with no experience driving in the rain before. So it’s those high risk situations that DriveItHome.org talks about and makes you think about and things like that to get you through these first months of brand new driver.”
Candace Rose: Absolutely. Are there any other things that parents can do to ensure that their kids become better drivers?
Nancy O’Dell: “There are so many things that are listed on the DriveItHome.org website, but there’s also a contract that you can print out that’s also an agreement between the teen and the parent. Tyler and I did it, and the teen just promises not to drive in the rain until they have a certain amount of experience with a parent, not to drive with passengers in the backseat that can distract them until they have a certain amount of experience. There’s also videos on the website that the teens can watch. These are all things that can make the teen a better driver, and the biggest thing that’s going to make them a better driver is that experience with you in the car with them. You don’t want them to get that alone and Allstate Foundation found out that two things of parents wish that they spent more time driving with their kids in high risk situations. The parent and the teen both want it, the statistics show it, so just getting out there and doing it and giving them that experience.”