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Safe driving habits

| May 17, 2014 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Safe driving habits are important for all drivers on the road. Most parents drive safely simply because they are transporting their children and know that their actions while driving may help to protect those they love from injury. What some parents may not realize is that children tend to watch their driving behaviors and may model them sometime in the future.

A recent driving safety study by Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center found that parents who teach and model safe driving techniques for their children go a long way toward helping their teen to be safe while driving. The study also found, however, that teens often pattern their own safe driving behaviors after what they think their parents do behind the wheel, rather than what the parents say they do. For instance, if a young driver thinks that a parent looks for an item while driving, the teen will be 4 times more likely to also look for items while they drive.


Because safe parental driving habits are critical to teaching teens how to drive safely, parents must understand what types of seemingly normal behaviors may cause car accidents. Some unsafe, though common, driving practices include the following:

  • Know the signs of drowsiness – Drivers who know the signs of drowsiness are often able to make safer driving choices. These may include frequent yawning, and inability to focus and pay attention to the road.
  • Cell phones – One of the most frequent distractions for drivers today is their cell phone. Between texting and social media, the draw to use a cell phone is almost irresistible for many teens. Toyota’s CSRC study found that teens text while driving 26 times more often than parents would have expected.
  • Eating and drinking – Eating while driving happens even more often than texting and driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This practice may increase a driver’s chances of being seriously injured in an accident by as much as 80 percent.

Safe driving habits should not include anything that would fall under the label of distracted driving. According to, these include any behaviors that take some of the driver’s attention away from driving.


Understanding the types of behaviors that are not considered safe in a vehicle may be key in helping young drivers learn how to drive safety from the start. Parents who are able to pattern these behaviors consistently often have a large influence on the way their teens will drive in the future.