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May 15, 2015

How My Mom Taught Me To Be A Safe Driver

Mom_kids_car-iStock_000051073364_SmallAs the middle child of three kids, I appreciated my mom growing up. She was always there for me; whether I needed a hug, an ear to listen to me, encouragement, or to discipline me even though I didn’t always agree with her. Although my mom didn’t have a driver’s license, she also ensured we were always safe while riding in a vehicle.

During our family vacations, my mom always ensured the car was packed properly. Even back in the day she knew the station wagon -- yes a station wagon; the one with the fake paneling on the side -- could be packed a certain way to allow for my dad to see out the rear window. Nothing was really available to fly around the seating compartment in the event of a sudden move or harsh braking to injure or distract the driver when my mom was there. There was something uncanny about my mom’s knowledge of driving, even though she never sat in the driver’s seat…not even once.

Mom_kids_car-iStock_000010989174_SmallMom knew what would distract dad from driving safely. She gave us things to do during that long summer vacation drive so we wouldn’t bother dad while he drove the car. She came up with driving games that kept our attention and made it fun to be a passenger in the car. It all worked well for us kids, and that was well before anything electronic was available to hold our attention. Smart lady, huh?

Mom knew about road safety and vehicle safety too. She was the original seat harness back in the day. If I was sitting in the middle of that bench seat in the front and my dad had to hit the brakes hard, I knew my mom would throw her arm across my chest to help hold me in place. Thanks, Mom. She taught me never to trust another driver was going to stop at red lights or stop signs. Again; thanks, Mom.

Family_traveling_by_car-iStock_000009308455_SmallAs the years have gone by, Mom was always paying attention in the passenger seat. When I got my driver’s license, she was proud of my accomplishment and I enjoyed taking my mom places. Now that she’s a grandma, she enjoys her grandson -- my son -- doing the same with her. She knows what a safe, smart driver does. And even after all these years, she still throws her arm across the front seat if the driver has to brake suddenly. Although this time, there’s no one sitting on that bench seat. Thanks, Mom.

When we were all in the family vehicle together, regardless of the length of the trip, Mom was in charge. Dad thought he was, but it was really Mom. Thanks, Mom. Just don’t tell Dad.


Scott_Marshall_headshotBy Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall is Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada and started in road safety in 1988.  He was a judge during the first three seasons of Canada’s Worst Driver on Discovery Network. Scott started writing columns on driving for his community paper in 2005.  Since then his columns have been printed in several publications including newspaper, magazines, and various websites. You can visit Scott’s blog at



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