Parents Can Dramatically Affect Their Children’s Future Safety by the Example they Set

People with children know how much their little ones like to emulate the things that parents do, whether it is an older sister trying to mother her younger siblings or a son playing ball with his daddy.

I took this photograph with my cellphone a few days ago, while parked and waiting for somebody. The mother has left her distracted little girl behind on what is a busy, parking lot road, with both of them seemingly oblivious to the danger. (Copyright image, 2019.)

For better or for worse, children also faithfully copy what they see their parents do on the roads, whether this is in a vehicle or as pedestrians (and this is research, incidentally, not just our opinion).

The photograph above was taken as described in the caption but I had seen the same family entering the building a few minutes earlier, that time with the little girl still engrossed in her cellphone but with the mother pulling her along by one arm. Even that scenario had me concerned because it would have been a good opportunity to teach the child that its important never to be distracted when crossing a road. However, at that point I was too slow to grab my camera and get a photograph. But when they came back out the situation was even worse, as the picture shows.

Sadly, there was clearly no chance of this little girl being taught always to stop at a roadside, look left, look right, look left again, and then cross carefully if the road was clear, and keep looking and listening for danger as she crossed.

The video clip above is from Britain (but remember they drive on the left and have footballs that are round!). This is just one recent, national television commercial from an ever-updated campaign that has gone on for decades

Here’s a question for all readers: How much part does the inadequate teaching of safety when crossing roads — either from parents or from governmental safety bodies — play in America’s very high road-death toll and in the catastrophically high number of pedestrian killed in the USA each year? It must surely be a factor, and possibly a very big factor.

Exactly the same goes for parents ALWAYS wearing seatbelts in vehicles — front seats and rear when applicable, and even when just going down your own driveway to check the mailbox before going to the store. Anytime a child sees a parent with no seatbelt, it gives them a reason or an excuse or a belief that a belt isn’t ALWAYS needed. But it is!

And the same goes for not getting angry with other drivers. Why teach your kids that road rage is sometimes acceptable?

There are scores of things that could potentially harm your child, or worse, on any road so please take the time to think things through. If you wouldn’t like your children to copy what you do when driving or walking, then don’t do it! Your good example at all times could quite literally save your child’s life in the future.

And what is needed from governmental bodies? Well just one of those things is an ongoing, research-based and target driven program of suitable PSA videos. The next clip below shows short excerpts from many of the child-targeted videos from Britain over the last 50+ years.

If ever you have questions about any aspect of road safety for your family, please come back to this Advanced Drivers of North America website ( and use the Contact Us form to ask. If we do not know a particularly technical answer, we will know somebody who does.

As with our defensive driving and advanced driving courses, everything we do is research-based and/or best-practise driven because — no matter how well intended — mere opinion can be a very dangerous source in road safety issues.


Please be aware that this website is registered with the United States Copyright Office and that punitive legal action for damages may be taken against anyone who breaches our copyright. This, however, does not stop you from posting links to any of our pages, and you are welcome to do so.

The two THINK! videos on this page are clearly not covered by our ADoNA copyright.

Advanced Drivers of North America’s Role in the USA’s “Vision Zero” Goals

If your corporation or small business employs drivers, Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] can take them farther towards maximum safety than any other training supplier in the USA, and this article outlines how.

The Road to Zero Coalition logo
Advanced Drivers of North America is proud to be a member of the Road To Zero coalition.

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America’s Most Dangerous Intersections — the Need for More, Better-Designed Roundabouts, plus Accurate Info for Drivers!

In an article published in January 2018, Business Insider listed the most dangerous intersection in every state in the USA, and in each case there was an accompanying photograph, although not always from a suitable angle or elevation.

From what can be seen in the photographs, many of the intersections would benefit tremendously from the installation of a roundabout.  Roundabouts don’t necessarily reduce the overall number of collisions — indeed when first installed a roundabout may see an increase in the number of minor collisions while people get used to the new type of intersection — but the number of serious collisions, involving injuries and deaths, will drop dramatically as long as the roundabout is well-designed, and just as importantly, as long as the drivers in that state are being taught the best way to drive into, around and out of roundabouts.  However, while the first of these points is increasingly being met (although not so in the first photograph shown below), the second — the education aspect — is deliberately and unforgivably being rejected by the FHWA, and as a result, all state-level DOTs that we know of.

A photograph from above of a roundabout intersection in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan.
This intersection in West Bloomfield Township is the most dangerous in Michigan and is logically therefore one of the most dangerous in the USA. Given that it is already a roundabout, this is particularly disappointing because roundabouts are the safest form of intersection. The conclusion must therefore be that one or more things are wrong with this particular roundabout (see the article text, below) and perhaps with other relevant factors in Michigan in general. (Photo: Google Maps)

Back in 2010, at a conference in Washington, DC, about the then-imminent commencement of the international ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2011-2020’, I had the good fortune to meet the very likable Joe Toole, who was then the head of the Federal Highway Administration [FHWA], one of the two executive divisions of the USDOT. Continue reading “America’s Most Dangerous Intersections — the Need for More, Better-Designed Roundabouts, plus Accurate Info for Drivers!”

Good Observations for Safe Driving (with Photographs)

The photographs in this article were taken around a Bronze Advanced Driving course, with Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA], in south east Massachusetts.   They each show typical driving scenes but give only a very small insight into the discussions about the standards of the observations that are essential to effective driver training and to all safe driving.

Photograph taken from a vehicle driving through a small Massacusetts town, showing various potentially hazardous scenarios.
A typical driving scenario in beautiful, small-town America, showing many potential hazards that most drivers sadly get away with ignoring, but each of which, when ignored, can at the very least result in damaged vehicles or something much worse.   Copyright image.

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15th Annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws – 2018

The following is the introduction to this important document from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a document which highlights that various state governments around the USA are unacceptably lax in creating laws which could save many thousands of American lives each year :

We Don’t Have to Wait for Fully Autonomous Cars to Stop Needless Deaths and Injuries
Effective and Available Countermeasures Must Be Adopted Now

The 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws marks the 15th annual publication by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates). This report serves as a navigational tool giving guidance on successful measures to reduce preventable motor vehicle deaths, injuries and crash costs. Each day on average, approximately 100 people are killed and 6,500 more are injured on our roadways across the country. Yet, solutions continue to languish or be ignored in state capitals, Congress and at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Photograph of rush-hour highway traffic, Washington D.C.
Rush-hour traffic, Washington D.C. (Copyright image.)

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Naïve or Inaccurate Claims about Highway Safety Improvements do More Harm than Good

Claims that this-or-that highway safety program or this-or-that new idea has had a profound effect on road deaths are commonly very misleading, and a new claim from Alabama undoubtedly comes into this category.
Continue reading “Naïve or Inaccurate Claims about Highway Safety Improvements do More Harm than Good”

Astonishingly, the USA Does Not Meet the Basic Road Safety Standards of the W.H.O.

While it is something one might reasonably expect only in relation to poorer, “third-world” countries, the United States of America fails to do well in any of the legislative requirements to achieve basic standards of road safety, as outlined in the most-recent edition of the Global Status Report on Road Safety, by the World Health Organisation [WHO].

W.H.O. Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015 - Front Cover
W.H.O. Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015 – Front Cover

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New York is Top State in USA Enforcement Efforts to Make Highways Safer

NYS DMV Press Release – Monday, July 24, 2017

New York is the top state in the nation in taking steps to reduce injuries and fatalities on its roadways, a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says. No state has taken as many steps to curtail the number of crashes as the Empire State. As a result, New York had one of the lowest rates of traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents in the nation, according to 2013 data cited in the report.

NYS DMV logo

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ADoNA: The Clear Leader in U.S. Driver Safety and Training – a Research Victory

For over ten years, Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] has been teaching the important fact that official “overall stopping distances” for cars have been inaccurate and needed to be treated as being significantly longer than previously thought.  Now, at last, our own calculations have been proven appropriate and extremely accurate.

An excellent graphic from Brake showing the old versus new 'overall stopping distances' in which each car length represents 13 feet.
An excellent graphic from Brake showing the old versus new ‘overall stopping distances’ in which each car length represents 13 feet. (New distances shown above old distances, at each speed.)

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USA: 10 Things Truck Drivers Do that Get them Pulled Over

Even without seeing the sub-headings, one can quickly deduce that the informative article linked below has been written by a retired highway patrol police officer.

Although you may not agree, all American drivers have a much easier time of it than do European drivers, the latter of whom can typically be stopped just because the police officer wishes to do so.  No other reason is required, although it is only right and proper that such ‘random stops’ can not be for racial or other wrongful discriminatory purposes.

Photo of a semi-tractor-trailer at night.
Semi-tractor-trailer at night.

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