Passing on dangerous habits


Are we passing on deadly driving habits to our children – the next generation of drivers?


Because of the inadequate public transport system we have in South Africa, it’s a given – where families have cars – they will in all likelihood carry passengers who will also probably be a child or two.


If they don’t have a driving licence yet, it probably hasn’t crossed your mind that every time they’re in the car they’re observing what you do. Truthfully, the way you drive now will influence their driving habits later. After all, kids learn from their parents.


So, can you say ‘hand-on-heart’ that you’re setting a good example to your children or any other young passengers in your vehicle?


Reflect for a moment on the following:

  • Have you sent a quick text while they’re in the car with you?
  • Made the occasional phone call without using hands free?
  • Set the SatNav on the move, focusing more on that than the road ahead?
  • Placed a sandwich on your knees when your partner dishes out snacks while driving on a family day out?


If you’re guilty of these behaviours, the frightening thought is that once they throw their L-plates away, your kids will have this behaviour embedded in them. If Mum or Dad does it, then surely it’s OK? If Dad doesn’t care about mobile phone laws, why should I?


If you’re of an age when mobile phones and in-vehicle technology wasn’t around when you were growing up, it may not have occurred to you what influence these things are having on the mindsets of youngsters.


Road safety teams often go into schools and preach to teenagers the dangers of driving. What a conflict of messages if their Dad then picks them up and is on the phone the whole way home.


So, next time you’ve got children in the car, think again. Now is the time to set an example for them.


Let’s aim for a new breed of drivers who saw that their Mum always locked her phone away when driving. Dad always sets the SatNav before pulling away. That you drove safely because you valued your life, their lives and the lives of other road users.


Perhaps food for thought as we prepare now for the future.


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