Do you remember when you were 17?
Do you remember when you first got your “P” licence and you experienced those first few magical moments of freedom?
Yep me too……
The other week Miss M experienced yet another milestone in her life thus far. It has been a busy time for her of late.
She came home, very excited and waving those all important and heart in mouth (for me) P plates in my face!
A moment that has been a long time coming considering she had completed all her necessary driving hours about 6 months ago!
She blitzed her driver test with a 104 out of 100 (achieving 5 bonus points and losing one point for a slack “head check”), so she was rather chuffed to say the least.
However the real test for me came, when her 15 year old sister arrived home from school and they asked if they could go for a drive ….. together……. alone……
My heart started pounding and I broke out in a cold sweat. Was my reaction always going to be like this?
As my stuttered “sure, but don’t be too long” left my lips, I curbed my heart palpitations long enough to peer from behind the curtains, like a stalker,to watch them drive sedately up the road.
The whole time they were gone I was left pacing the floor. Is she driving safely? Are they being sensible? Have I done the right thing?
Then the other thoughts started crashing in, thoughts that keep you awake at night.
The realisation that 2 of your kids are in a motor vehicle…together….alone and that any moment you could lose them both together, at the same time……breathe…breathe…breathe…..
I don’t think I am ever going to truly relax while she is behind the wheel on her own. I’d like to think that her Dad and I taught her well (at least that’s what the driving tester said). But you still worry… and I have to do this 3 more times!
Statistically new P platers have an increased risk of having an accident on our roads, more than other driver.
They have 3 times the risk of being involved in a crash where one ore more people are injured or killed.
They have 3 times the risk of having single vehicle crash, more than any other driver.
Have I worried you now? These tips may help..
12 Tips To Ensure P Plater Safety
- Play it safe and limit their driving to low risk situations in the first few couple of months.
- Minimise driving at night in the first couple of months.
- Limit the number of passengers they take to one or two only.
- Turn off the mobile phone while driving. Bearing in mind that no function of a mobile phone can be used while driving, this means music too.
- Turn down the radio. Get them used to the sights and in particular the sounds around them without distraction.
- Make sure they are driving a car with their capabilities in mind. No V8 or V6 engines.
- Do not “fudge” their learners log book. They need every one of those hours of experience before they go solo. You are only putting them at risk if they do not have the required hours of driving experience before setting them free on their own.
- Reinforce the speed limit. Young drivers statistically have a slower reaction time and add inexperience and speed to the mix is just asking for tragedy. Also still encourage the “head checks”.
- Just because they are now a P Plater, this not mean that the instruction ends from you.
- Remember that P Platers have a “zero” alcohol limit. Take this into account when they are deciding what to eat (Grandmas trifle may not be a good idea), cold medication etc can all affect the reading.
- Encourage them to check their car regularly, oil, water, petrol and tire pressure. Also make sure that they have enough water in their wipers to clean the windscreen.
- Always get the permission from a parent before you allow their friends in the car with them.
Remember this is a rite of passage and with the proper precautions hopefully you can see them safely out the other side with both them and you unscathed.