Myth #1 – Parents today believe their teen will wreck their first car because they did:
Most parents we speak with do believe their teenager will wreck their first car. They follow that statement by saying, “I did”. These parents see crashing as a legitimate form of learning. These parents also hold the same feelings of invincibility as their teens because they fail to see the possibility that the wreck they are expecting will be a fatal or life altering incident.
A mom I know is one of those people who is always on the phone while driving (and she’s a nurse). Her daughter has just gotten her drivers permit. I’ve talked with them many times about putting her through our program. They say they want to do that and say it would be good for her but never register. Two weeks ago, I saw a photo on Facebook that the daughter took (girl driving/mom front passenger seat/sibling in rear seat). She held the camera out far enough to get everyone in the photo which was taken in the car IN TRAFFIC. If I’m being totally honest, I’m afraid I will be attending her funeral in the next year.
Both parents wrecked their first car and mom has told me that she expects her daughter will wreck her first one too.
Myth #2 – Busy Schedules Contribute to Putting Teens in Driver’s Seat Faster Today than Ever:
Another issue with parents today is the busy schedules they hold. More and more people commute longer distances and there are more and more school activities their children are involved in and time becomes a premium in any given day. As a result, the sooner they can put their teen behind the wheel without supervision, the more freedom of time is achieved.
I have a close friend who used to teach Driver Ed and he would regularly fail kids who came through his class. He was tough and they either made it or they didn’t. The man has told me countless stories of parents who would phone him up and express their displeasure over the fact that he failed their child. One guy even threatened to come to his house and kick his ass. In all cases, the general theme used by these parents to this Driver Ed instructor was, “do you realize how much inconvenience this will cause in our family’s schedule since little Johnny won’t be able to drive for another 6 months?”
Myth #3 – Drivers Education is Sufficient Preparation for Driving and Safety
Most parents hold the belief that Drivers Education is sufficient to prepare their teen to drive and that, coupled with their first wreck, is the normal learning process by which a teen becomes a good driver. But I think we also need to look at the parents view of their own driving. I’ve never heard anyone say they are a bad or unsafe driver. They will tell you every possible scenario they’ve seen about the “other guys” driving issues but they themselves are good safe drivers. Yeah, they’ve had a few wrecks and such but again, it was someone else’s fault and their poor driving skills that caused it.
When their teen is behind the wheel, they may give a few comments or pointers but basically, they’re being chauffeured and catching up on their office work, updating their facebook page or reading a book. Parents believe Drivers Ed already taught their teen how to drive and they’re certain the first wreck won’t occur when they’re in the car because they know their kid is on his/her best behavior.