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Responsible Parent - A good Role model

By T.K. Malhotra

THOUSANDS of people die on roads every year in our country. According to research studies number of those killed on roads is alarmingly high. Too many of them are youngsters whose values have yet to be realized by the society. Shortly, after the exams are over, large numbers below 18 years of age take to road in family cars. Blissfully, they seem to enjoy inspiration of their parents to indulge in this kind of misdemeanor. The parents often have false sense of pride to boast about their children and score a point among their friends and families.

A recent case in point is of 5-year-old child Tanishk of Mayur Vihar whose undesirable deed of
driving through the congested areas to a hospital apparently at the cost and risk to the traffic and
road users. The child escaped anyone's attention including enforcement agencies. On the other

hand, Media made a hero out of him and glorified him by reconstructing the story in the same sequence of events. The child once again had to be motivated to take to road to oblige the camera. Truly speaking, the entire nation should condemn this happening, which can have ill effects and negative motivation on millions of children in this age group. Undoubtedly thousands of children may be as talented or adventurous like Tanishk but how many of us as parents would push them to the gallows of road risks!

Studies reveal that drivers between the age of 18 and 24 are involved in more than 25% of road fatalities. Approximately 30% of drivers who exceed the speed limit are also in this age group.

The parents can certainly prevent their children from becoming just another statistics in the atrocious accident rate. Safe driving does not just happen. It requires hard work and young drivers especially; need proper training both in theory and practical lessons.

Behaviour of elders on the road will to a large extent determine the behaviour of their children behind the wheel. The example they set will, therefore, be of vital impact. As parents let us consider our driving habits and resolve right now to be a good role model:

· Do we always wear our safety belt and inculcate the same habit in our children too?

Do we drive recklessly, such as taking over a slower vehicle when it is unsafe or illegal to do so?

Do we drive after consuming alcohol?

Let us not forget that our children witness this from early age and believe that such behaviour is acceptable. It is never too early to instill good road manners: safety research has shown that inexperience is a m a j o r cause of accident involving ow n e r -d r i v e r s . You as a parent can c h a n g e this. As soon as your child has reached the driving age, start imparting him driving education if he happens to accompany you in the car. Turn the shortest trip into a lesson. In addition, make him join a driving school of repute to develop driving skills systematically. Also help him to build-up some practical experience and knowledge under your supervision after he has obtained a learner licence. Make your child feel responsible but not over-confident.

He might be using your car in the beginning. This will be the best time to lay down certain conditions. It will be wise to prohibit the use of the car when he is going to a party. Rather suggest alternatives such as giving him money for a taxi or arranging to drop him off and pick him up. Don't place him in other inexperienced youngster's hands.

- Compliment him when he drives well. A little encouragement could go a long way.

Last but not the least STEER HIM IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.