We get a lot from our parents. Our names, our looks, sometimes even our political beliefs. What if our parents were more responsible for who we are than we realize? According to an article at The Telegraph, a French study conducted by the Vinci Autoroutes Foundation says we are the drivers our parents made us.
Think about that for a moment, the average person sends just shy of 38,000 hours driving in their lifetime. Your child will be sitting behind you, observing your driving behavior for a good chunk of their young lives. How you respond to on the road may dictate how your child will respond as a driver later in life. With most learned bad behavior, a parent will think of their child “monkey see, monkey do”. And it’s completely true, but we don’t take this into consideration with driving.
The study found 65% of those polled [993 drivers age 18-25] said that they were influenced by the driving behaviors of their parents. 75% of those polled who said they prone to road rage also admitted their parents were as well. 77% of speeders said they were second generation violators, throwing mom or dad under the bus. Parents weren’t mindful of pedestrians? Neither were those polled nearly ¾’s of the time anyway.
The parallels of traffic offenses between the generations continue to go on per the Telegraph article. Running red lights? Yeah, Dad was always trying to beat the traffic light. Drinking and driving? Uh-huh, mom did. Drowsy driving? Yep. We continue to see bad habits of the children originating with the parents most of the time in these scenarios.
And we should not be surprised.
Children are like sponges, soaking up what is around them. Aggression, erratic behavior, poor decision making, these are things we expose them to, highlighting our worst behavior as the norm. Parents have to remember that they are role models to their children and that includes in the car. Learned behavior can be the hardest to shake because it’s been instilled through repetition, consistently over time. That’s why what we expose our kids to should consistently be our best effort, even on the road.