A study has shown the incredible amount of parents’ driving behaviour that children absorb from a young age and the worrying in-car habits that this can create. A quarter of dads regularly show unsafe driving behaviour such as accelerating too quickly (26 per cent) and speeding when driving (22 per cent), compared with a considerably lower percentage of mums (11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively). Despite this, over half of children (52 per cent) prefer being driven by dad than mum (39 per cent).
ingenie, an insurance brand, recently interviewed 10- year-old James and 13-year-old Tania to investigate the driving behaviour they have learned from their parents. When asked to do an impression of his dad driving, James talks on his mobile phone and then beeps the horn aggressively and shouts out the window, seemingly intimidating other drivers. Meanwhile, Tania says when her mum is driving: “She’s putting her lipstick on, looking at her phone.” Both sets of parents, who were watching the live interview from another room, expressed their shock at their kids’ impression of their conduct and how much they were taking in on journeys. You can watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/JtHIvarID7Q.
The research with children aged between 10 and 16 years old found that they frequently witnessed their parents committing similar transgressions but Dad proved to be the biggest culprit. Almost half (43 per cent) of dads get angry behind the wheel in comparison with just a fifth (18 per cent) of mums. Children also revealed that their dad (57 per cent) and mum (44 per cent) shout at others whilst driving and Dad is 13 per cent more likely to swear in the car.
With this in mind, it’s surprising to note that over a third (34 per cent) of children would prefer their dad to teach them to drive rather than their mum (25 per cent). The insights could expose children’s acceptance of unsafe driving habits and the misunderstanding that these traits are normal upon passing a driving test.
Richard King, of ingenie, states: “The results reveal that we are teaching children bad driving habits long before they start lessons and subsequently pass their test. Parents need to understand the importance of setting a good example behind the wheel and be aware of the amount of information that children absorb. How we drive as parents ultimately influences how safely our children will drive in the future.”
Dan, James’ father featured in the ingenie video said, “It’s definitely an eye opener. He’s sitting in the back, I think that he’s on his iPhone all the time, but he is still taking in other information.”
The study marks the first of the five gears in ingenie’s Parent Manifesto; a robust series of activities that aims to educate parents on how to get more involved when their child is learning to drive, in order to complement the learning process and promote safer driving amongst young people. The manifesto will be made up of five stages released over the next four months – with each stage aiming to educate parents on another way they can help their child drive safely and save money.