Emirates Driving Institute has been associated with Manipal University during Women's Day '09 celebrations. After addressing the young audience through a workshop on Safe Driving, they have contributed the following write-up about Teen Driving, a must read for all.
As a teenager, whenever you get nostalgic, the most vivid memory is of holding on to your mother’s hand tightly, and wiping away your tears which have now started trickling down your chubby little cheek. At that juncture, for every step that you take you look up to your parents. They are your reference points. And then all of a sudden you grow up. Looking up to your elders becomes an obligation and freedom from everything the need of the hour. The first urge that you are filled with is to drive your OWN car!
Teenage drivers are often termed as terrifyingly bad drivers. That may be partially true. Because, when one starts doing anything for the first time, one falters. The rapid flow of blood from your arteries, owing to your age, makes asking for help or guidance appears as a ‘not so cool thing’. Agreed, that it is human to err. But while admitting this fact, we cannot conveniently ignore that mistakes committed while driving can do irreparable damage. While dealing with overcrowded roads, traffic congestion, and other rash drivers, inexperience combined with the lack of maturity can prove to be hazardous.
In UAE, the minimum age for applying for a motorcycle license is 17, and for a light vehicle is 18; an age at which most teenagers are, by nature, easily bored and overconfident. Driving is licensed by the state, but for a teen it is a privilege granted by parents.
While blaming the teenagers what is conveniently ignored is that driving is a habit which the teenagers pick up from their parents. So, the parents too ought to be careful and need to take the responsibility of the callous attitude that their kids develop. It is quite important for a parent to help his son/daughter choose his/her first car. As teenagers generally invest more trust in glitzy advertising campaigns, and choose the “cool” car rather than the “safe” car. Here are some tips we offer to our dear Gen Y who go astray as they don’t know which way to go.
- Safe cars over Sporty cars; Small cars may seem cute and be cheaper, but they offer less crash protection. Also, sports utility vehicles, especially the smaller ones, are less stable than other cars because of their higher centre of gravity. Abrupt steering manoeuvres can cause rollovers. Starters should always remember to check the crash test data and facts and figures on cost of ownership, for every car that they use. Check out the NCAP rating @ www.euroncap.com for information on any modern car. The history of used cars must also be checked and the vehicle thoroughly inspected by an authorised agency before purchase. Any reputable garage can offer this service.
- Wireless or Hands-Free; Cell phones while driving are a strict no-no. As a eighteen-year-old you can never pay enough attention to the road while discussing the latest Linkin Park album with a friend on the phone, while blaring loud music on the car speakers or sorting personal issues with a loved one. Sending and receiving text messages on cell phones divides the focus of attention between the road and the seemingly more important message on the cell phone. The wireless communication device can render one handicap or result in death if met with an accident.
- Travel Alone, Be Safe; the number of passengers in the car should be limited, avoid going out in large groups especially during the initial stages. Studies have shown that when there are three or more teenage passengers, crash rates MULTIPLY. Driving a car full of noisy, excited friends of your age can be very taxing and spells DANGER. Late evening is a particularly high-risk time. Mohd Rafi, aged 21 states "It's extremely difficult to concentrate on the road, when I'm driving my friends to a party as it’s a very noisy environment within the car. Driving then becomes a very complex process and one tends to loose control of the car." "I always miss road directions and proper exits to my destination, when am driving with my friends or younger siblings. The constant banter going on at the back seat, distracts my driving", said Misba Sheikh, 20.
- Speedy Action Late Reaction; Speeding and reckless driving always results in dire consequences. Speed limits must be set, and ground rules should be strictly followed. Seat belts are the single most effective safety device in cars. Speeding reduces the time to follow the OAP map, Observing, Anticipating and Planning. Whenever you accelerate for thrill, your time to react to avoid a crash or collision is reduced threefold. Buckle up for safety always. 3D Danger; Drugs. Drinking and Driving. Remember drugs, alcohol and driving is a dangerous combination. Youngsters should remember that they can always call their parents when they are in trouble or need a ride home. Parents may scream at you, but they will certainly not leave you in the lurch. So, speak to them. Supervised driving hours will help you in making better judgements behind the wheel. You can always drive for a set number of hours with your parents or an elder family member/relative, before getting independent with the vehicle. And this one is for your dear mommy and daddy. Kids always emulate their parents. So try to become a better parent, if you want an obedient son/daughter. Get directly involved in teaching them how to be a safe and responsible driver, something truly wonderful will happen. Teach them to secure their world, in the safe confines of your love. An Article written by Emirates Driving Institute. From a humble beginning in 1991, EDI is today the largest and most successful Driving Institute in the Middle East. EDI has won many national and international awards in the field of driver training and road safety. Contact us on +9714 – 2631100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Visit us at: www.edi-uae.com