I wrote this post as part of my participation in a blog tour for Latina Mom Bloggers on behalf of the Allstate Foundation and received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
As those magic teenage years linger on the horizon, I find myself most worried about handing the car keys over to my daughter. But I have at least four more years until I have to worry about this right? Wrong!
My grandmother taught me how to drive when I turned 15. We’d get in her old beat up Oldsmobile and drive up and down the drive way eventually I was allowed to go down the street, around the corner, a few blocks and so on. It was a gradual process that took months. But that wasn’t where learning to drive started for me. It started years before then as she took the time to discuss the rules of the road on our way home from school and to extracurricular activities.
She knew that it was never too early to start learning to drive and more importantly that it has to done incrementally. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jorge Monsivais from Allstate about their new findings, resources and his TWO teenage children who are now driving. Jorge pointed out that as parents, we are the first teachers of our children and just like any concept teaching safe driving is going to “take time”. “Our talks should be gradual and continual just like the graduated driver’s license,” Jorge said.
The “¡Vamos!” survey is the first-ever national look into how Hispanic teens and parents approach driving. The Allstate Foundation found that seven out of 10 Hispanic parents were unaware that car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens.
Hispanic parents were also more likely to delay their children from getting a license until they were 18. They cited safety and responsibility concerns. Unfortunately, by delaying the process Hispanic teenagers are missing out on the important and life-saving process of a graduated driver’s license. Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) offers a slower introduction to driving and more challenging driving experiences. The GDL process varies by state but usually includes driving a minimum number of hours with a parent or guardian, restrictions on nighttime driven and the number of passengers in a vehicle. The GDL laws have been proven to reduce teen car crashed by up to 40 percent!
And to help out our padres who prefer to consume their media in Spanish, Allstate has created new resources including: Teen Driver Coaching Tips, practice lessons and tips for parents to guide their child before and for up to a year after he/she is fully licensed; Parent-Teen Agreement, a set of mutually agreed-upon rules of the road and consequences if the rules are broken; and Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Video, videos which help explain the GDL laws in a fun and visual way. Check out all of these resources at (English): www.AllstateFoundation.org/vamos or (Spanish): http://www.allstatefoundation.org/vamos-espanol.
As Jorge pointed out to me, “the most dangerous part of a teenager’s life is driving.” We need to invest the time and arm ourselves with the resources and knowledge to have these conversations and be the best teachers we can be. Do you have conversations with your tweens about safe driving? What about your teenagers? Have you started the driving process with them? What are your biggest concerns?