Above all, getting better at anything requires experience. Unless you're some sort of prodigy, there's no way around it. There's a reason the phrase "practice makes perfect" is a cliché. It's popular because it's true. You can read about how to get better, you can watch videos, and listen to other experienced people give you tips, but at the end of the day, you need experience. Doing is the best type of learning. That's why young drivers are such a huge liability on the road.
We were all inexperienced drivers at one point. Some of us have progressed into much better drivers with that experience. Others, not so much (we never said experience guarantees greatness). In an attempt to try to make the roads safer and control some of the unstable variables of young drivers, some companies are now offering the ability to limit what their kids can and can't do in the car.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
, there were 1,875 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who died from vehicle crashes in 2012 and 184,000 who were injured. That makes vehicle crashes the leading cause of death for that age group. Teens have a crash rate three times higher than the average person, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute
Still, does that call for essentially spying on kids with GPS tracking, speed controls, and restrictions on when and where they can drive like with Ford's MyKey? Let's weigh the positives and negatives.
1. Kids can often be reckless
Captain Obvious here to tell you that the young ones, contrary to every claim they make, don't actually know everything. Restricting what kids are able to do and not do on the road could make a huge difference in protecting them and everybody else on the road. If parents could keep the volume down on the radio, set a limit on where the car can go, put on a speed cap, and make sure the kids are wearing seat belts, it will keep reckless behavior in check and help maintain safety.
2. Parents can protect their auto investments
Cars aren't cheap, especially if they're buying something relatively new for their kids. Setting parental controls for when your kid is driving doubles as an extra insurance policy. Better driving means less chance of accidents, which means maintaining a car's value, which means happy owner.
This might seem a little ridiculous, but if parents have a tracking device in their kids' cars and can limit where they go, they won't have to constantly be texting or calling them as much. And if they're not texting them as much, there's a smaller chance that the kids will be reading and responding to those texts while driving and stressing about getting back to parents quickly.
You obviously can't completely eliminate the kids' abilities to text while driving, but considering how dangerous it is and how increasingly common it's becoming, anything could help.
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1. Experience is the best learning tool
I will forever hold that, above all else, experience is far and above the most effective way to learn and understand something. You can read, you can watch, you can listen to somebody else talk about it all you want, but nothing will be comprehended and retained like actually doing something.
2. Parents can't protect and control their kids forever
It's disheartening when you meet somebody who has never really been on their own before. The teen years are an incredibly important time in development. From my experience, being kept in a bubble will only hurt you. Kids need to learn how to handle various difficult situations on their own. Learning how to deal with your mistakes without assistance can play an incredibly helpful role in shaping who you become.
3. Being a teenager is basically about doing stuff you're not supposed to be doing
From the perspective of a teenager, let me put it eloquently: "Screw that." We've been young; we know the struggle of trying to get outside of the grasp of our parents. If my parents gave me the option of buying a crappy car and having to pay for it myself or getting a much nicer new vehicle and having my parents spy on me, I'm working my ass off to get that '89 Integra with 170,000 miles as quickly as I can.
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