Mum’sa safer bet
Children prefer to have their mother at the wheel, writes Mark Hinchliffe
CHILDREN feel safer in mum’s taxi than when Dad is at the wheel. A British survey has found six out of 10 children aged five to 16 are happier and more relaxed when their mother is driving.
Australian road safety campaigner Russell White says parents should remember they are role models and that it’s important for children to feel safe in the car.
‘‘Kids exposed to poor driving copy that behaviour,’’ he says. ‘‘ They are a product of their parents. They watch everything that is going on and those seeds that are planted early come to fruit in their teens.’’
The British Guild of Experienced Motorists’ survey found children believed fathers drove too fast, were more aggressive and lost their tempers too quickly.
Mums were less likely to suffer from road rage, did not dodge in and out of traffic, were more considerate to other motorists and had nicer cars.
However, the poll found children said their mum was more likely to stall, bump into a wall or have difficulty parking.
White said there is no doubt women drive differently to men.
‘‘Women are more neutral in their views of the external environment whereas men are more aggressive,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s one of the reasons kids get carsick.’’
The survey found children didn’t like their fathers’ impatience and 83 per cent said they often drove at high speeds.
When their fathers drove too quickly, 39 per cent knew not to comment, 22 per cent gripped the seat in front and 26 per cent asked Dad to slow down.
More than half of dads were ac- cused of regularly shouting at other drivers and 35 per cent of children said they were nervous when their father lost his temper.
In contrast, 70 per cent of children said their mother happily sang her heart out while driving and 52 per cent said she talked nonstop to keep the family entertained.
However, a third of children said they were embarrassed to be driven around by either parent.
Mother of three Kathryn Britt says her family is not typical of the survey results.
‘‘Yeah, we feel equally unsafe with both parents,’’ 15-year-old son Sam jokes.
However, six-year-old Ella says her mum is typical of the survey because she sings and talks more while driving.
‘‘That’s what I don’t like,’’ Ruby, 13, says.
Not a typical mum’s taxi: Kathryn Britt and children Sam, 15, Ruby, 13, and Ella, 6.