Letter to the Editor from Gardner BrittGardner Britt is the Dealer at Ted Britt Ford in Fairfax and Ted Britt Ford Lincoln Chantilly.
Across the nation, many students and teachers will be heading back to the classroom this week. With class back in session in our area, already congested roads will be even busier, making driving safety a number one concern for many parents. In fact, a majority of driving-age students will be driving themselves as they head back to school this year, according to a recent poll commissioned by Ford. Many of them will have their friends in the car which can be a significant distraction, especially to inexperienced drivers.
Studies have shown that friends are a significant distraction to all drivers, but especially inexperienced teen drivers – more passengers equals more risk. Teens also tend to look away from the road and become distracted for longer periods than more experienced drivers. Talking on a handheld cell phone, texting, grooming, eating, drinking, even listening to or adjusting the radio or MP3 player can all be distracting.
Wearing your safety belt is the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash, according to U.S. Department of Transportation. Additionally, collision risk, severity, and force increase as speed increases. For teen drivers, especially males, many severe collisions occur at high speeds. Speed reduces the amount of time the driver has to react to a hazard. 40-percent of teens surveyed admit to speeding ‘sometimes, often or always.’ 60-percent of teens surveyed view the speed limit at the ‘target’ speed for that road, as opposed to the maximum speed.
Parents that have a Ford vehicle equipped with MyKey® technology can encourage teenagers to wear their seat belts, keep the radio volume down, watch their speed and pay attention to the road – not their cell phones, all by programming the teen’s key. The MyKey feature is available on more than six million Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
Ford also offers a Ford Driving Skills for Life program to educate high-school students with classroom curriculum and hands-on driving tutorials. Teens experience real-world driving situations in a controlled environment using specially equipped vehicles.
Here are a few safety tips parents should share with their teens before they get behind the wheel:
· For those drivers that are allowed to have passengers, they should remember to focus on the driving task and keep their eyes on the road when talking.
· Set a good example by putting down the phone down while driving and making necessary calls using hands-free technology or after safely pulling over.
· Always buckle-up and be certain to require all passengers to buckle up for everyone’s safety.
· Drivers should remember that the faster they’re driving, the longer it takes to stop. Doubling vehicle speed can nearly quadruple braking distance necessary.
· Not only are the use of alcohol and illicit drugs illegal, but the combination of alcohol or drugs and driving can be deadly.
Wishing you a safe and healthy “Back to School” season – from all of us at Ted Britt Ford and Ted Britt Ford Lincoln.
Gardner Britt is the Dealer at Ted Britt Ford in Fairfax and Ted Britt Ford Lincoln Chantilly. For more information, visit www.tedbritt.com.