Safe driving habits are developed early on as a driver, and are generally taught by our parents or whoever taught us to drive. Safe driving isn’t only a good habit, it can a life or death situation. My dad mostly taught me how to drive. My mom was more of a yeller when it came to that kind of stuff, so it wasn’t a good personality match. I remember my dad making me learn on my parents’ old stick shift. I had just gotten my permit, and he pulled over on a back road coming home from a friend’s house. He hopped out of the car and told me to drive. He said now was as good a time as any to learn.
So after a little uneasiness, I got behind the wheel and my dad talked me through the nuances of a stick shift and how that worked. A few minutes later we were on our way. His idea was that if you could drive a standard car, you could drive just about anything. I agree.
While some people may find that approach of “just do it” a bit harsh, he knew me well enough to know that I’d figure out the basics and we’d get going. It also was a flat and fairly untraveled road—a much safer place to learn than the middle of town.
I loved having my dad teach me to drive. I also loved the time he spent teaching me basic car maintenance. As far as he was concerned, the two went hand-in-hand, and that is something I’ll definitely be sharing with my kids. There are car maintenance basics every driver needs to know. Checking and changing the oil, changing spark plugs and cables, how to use jumper cables, changing headlamps and signal lamps, how to change the air filter, how to top off fluids, how to change windshield wipers, and how to change a flat tire. Those are all things any driver should know.
Car crashes remain the No. 1 killer of teens, with 2,614 teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many accidents could be prevented if people had a better understanding of how to address potential vehicle maintenance issues and how to react in certain driving situations.
My dad also taught me how to drive in weather. I grew up in the North Country—snow, sleet, rain, ice. You name it, we had it.
Michelin is launching a project to crowdsource the best advice for staying safe of the road. We’re asking America to share tips based on what they’ve been taught and what they’ve learned over the years using the hash tag #SharingSafety. Whether you’re a new driver or have been driving for decades, we all share the road. Safe driving is for everyone.
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