Wish you could put on the brakes as your teenager counts down the days until she's eligible to apply for a driving permit? Awash in a cold sweat as your grinning daughter asks for the keys?
Enrolling your daughter in one of four series of classes run by Drive Carmel this fall will help. Professional classroom instruction as well as behind-the-wheel practice is offered. Guest speakers often attend classroom sessions, including retired California Highway Patrol officer Richard Richards.
|Photo courtesy of the Pacific Grove Hometown Bulletin
A Pacific Grove resident, Richards worked with CHP for 30 years. In his last year on the job, accidents he responded to included 25 fatalities of teenagers alone. In 2002, he was touched by a tragedy in which a 16-year-old passenger died in an accident caused by her friend, a 16-year-old driver. In response, he started the Start Smart program. The statewide initiative puts CHP officers in front of teens to discuss collision avoidance techniques, seat belt usage and the responsibilities of drivers and their parents.
Richards, who instructs local students on the road as well as in the classroom, can rattle off reams of tips for the parents of new drivers as well as their children. Today he'll share tips for parents. Tune in tomorrow as he shares tips for beginning drivers.
5 Tips for Parents of New Drivers
1. Ask your child questions as you drive. Tell them when you want to change lanes, for example, and ask them to talk you through the maneuver.
2. Make sure your new driver is getting plenty of classroom instruction along with behind-the-wheel practice.
3. Take your daughter to practice driving in many situations: on the highway, on downtown streets, on residential streets, in the rain, at night... She will never improve if she isn't allowed to practice.
4. Don't stop teaching her once she earns their license. Your daughter will be a new driver for a while.
5. Remind your children of the dangers automobiles present. Ask them to read news articles about teenagers whose lives have been altered by car accidents. There are plenty to choose from locally:
January, 2010: A 19-year-old man from Salinas dies and two of his 18-year-old friends suffer injuries when one of them loses control of the vehicle and collides with an embankment before rolling the vehicle on its side. The driver is charged with felony drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter;
February, 2010: A dancer in her senior year at Carmel High School suffers spinal cord injuries after she and five friends sustain injuries in a drunk driving accident. The driver is later charged with a felony for drunk driving;
July, 2010: Three teenagers from Monterey County are injured in a crash after the 19-year-old driver rolls the car. The driver is charged with a felony DUI.