I read an article on Forbes the other day titled: Why You Really Should Buy Your Teenager A New Car, and I had some of my own thoughts.
Author Joann Muller writes that parents should buy a brand new spanking car that has advanced safety technology for their inexperienced teenage driver. These features include electronic stability control (ESC), collison-warning systems, adaptive cruise control, blind spot-monitoring, rear back-up camera, rear-cross traffic alert, or lane-keeping assist.
Now don’t get me wrong – safety is very important, especially when it comes to driving a big metal box on the road. I recognize that any parent would do all they can to ensure the safety of their child(ren).
But what is the true reason behind the creation and designing of these advanced safety features? For in case of emergency. For example, collison-warning system in case you are pre-occupied watching one mirror and not the other, or lane-keeping assist, to prevent an accident if the driver is sleepy at the wheel. I do not believe these features were designed to protect teenagers who rely fully on technology to drive the car!
Buying your teenager a new car? It’s like telling your child never to play on a playground because he’ll catch germs and die.
Failure is a part of life. Failure is a necessary stepping stone in life.
Teenagers need to learn to drive first without the safety net of advanced safety features. They need to learn to back into a parking stall using just their mirrors, or stay in their own lanes when driving on the highway. They need to learn the right amount of braking time to stay a safe distance from other cars, and learn to look both ways to avoid oncoming vehicles.
Yes, the teenager may bump into a pole here, or have a few close calls, but these mistakes will teach the teenager to be a safer driver, for the sake of safety of his/her life, and not out of fear that their parents will find out about their “risky behaviour”. By allowing a teenager the luxury of these advanced safety features, we are only building on their desperate dependence on technology.
Only when they can drive a 1998 Volvo sedan safely, without nicks or scrapes or bumps, should a teenager be allowed to drive a car with advanced safety features.
The real lesson here? Responsibility.