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A Letter to My Three New Teen Drivers

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Here at InspireConversation.com, three members of our founding family are new drivers. We wanted to congratulate them, as well as reflect on the seriousness of the occasion. Here is our open letter, to both our triplets and all new teen drivers. If you enjoy, please share it, and we hope that it will prove a guiding force for teens and parents tackling the important milestone of driving with thoughtfulness, care, and excitement.

To My Dear Children,

Congratulations on the excitement of becoming newly minted drivers, and the responsibility that comes with this milestone. I am confident  that you will take ownership of the fact that this exciting new privilege requires new levels of maturity. If you treat it the right way, driving will help you to grow, develop character, be of better service to others, able to handle greater challenges, as well as be a source of great enjoyment.

It is easy to describe the fun aspects of driving: the new freedom, the excitement of getting to do something you have watched your whole life, and the ability to take yourself places with greater ease. While this letter is not meant to diminish those joys, you must also temper them with a sense of responsibility and respect. Life is all about balance; driving is a great example of this.

Safety needs to be your primary concern behind the wheel. While driving, you must consider the safety of your passengers, everyone else on the road (and near it), as well as your own well being. The stakes are much higher than in other activities, as property, personal safety and even lives can be at risk if driving is not treated with care and attention.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for US teens. This isn’t meant to scare you, but to inspire respect for the great responsibility you now have. It is important to recognize what you don’t know, and that just as with anything in life, time and experience will be your best guides. While you build up experience, it is best to exercise caution.

Distracted driving is a very real problem. While you have most likely heard time and time again about the dangers of texting while driving, don’t let the repetition of this mantra cause this critical message to be lost. On top of that, there are many other things that can distract you while driving. Adjusting the radio, looking at yourself in the mirror, or even picking up something you dropped, can all wait until the car has come to a stop. Remember what is important here: you, your passengers and the other people on the road. Everything else can wait.

When you have other people in the car, also remember that the road is your first priority. Don’t let friends distract you, and don’t distract others when riding with them. The driver is the ultimate decision maker when operating a vehicle, so focus on what you need to do.

Also remember that while it is exciting to be more independant and gain some freedom, you should also be aware of the ability driving gives you to help others. Treat this new skill as an opportunity to help out. Pick up tasks for your parents, drive siblings around, and see how your newfound ability to get from one place to another can help your friends and family. Take your gain and pay it forward, treat driving as both a privilege and an opportunity.

Above all else, use good judgment and be thoughtful on the road. Let every action you take reflect who you are as a person by being careful and smart about what you are doing. This is a milestone in your lives, let this new chapter be marked by not only excitement, but growth as well.

Congratulations again on this rite of passage. I hope you enjoy all the many benefits that driving has to offer. I wish you and all new teen drivers many happy, healthy and productive years on the road!

All my love,

Dad

 

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