Trooper Tips: Drive by example


By Master Trooper Gary Cutler
Colorado State Patrol

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” is a proverb that simply means trying to do what someone else does, or think like someone else thinks, is a compliment to that person. 

Well, parents, you should feel flattered, because your kids spend a large amount of time watching your actions and then imitating them. People often imitate or follow along with others without thinking about their actions, sometimes when doing unsafe acts.

So, when you are in your vehicle with your kids, remember that children learn by imitating what they see adults do. So why is this important to know? Because once they turn 16 and get behind the wheel of that vehicle, they are going to drive like they saw their parents do when you were driving. 

Here are some points to remember when you have that young audience watching your every move. First and foremost, before you leave the house, put that seat belt on. Make sure the kids are imitating you on this one. 

Second, keep your temper down. Don’t let other drivers get the best of you. Keep calm and use it as a teaching lesson for your children on what they should do when they drive.

Third, use you turn signals. Let them know why you do this. If it’s ingrained at a young age, it can stay with them for a lifetime.

Fourth, keep the speed at or below the speed limit. If the world is flying by too fast, how are kids supposed to see the beauty when all they can do is hang on for the ride?

After all of that, just remember to do the best for your kids when it comes to driving laws. They’ll follow your example and hopefully it will be the right one.

One last thing. I’ve been on contacts with drivers I’ve pulled over only to have the kids tell me what their parent was doing wrong. That is a great example on how kids process what is going on in the vehicle. So, drive correctly, drive safely and remember, when you have kids in the car, you have an audience in the car with you.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” — Dr. Seuss.

As always, safe travels.