Mum’sa safer bet

Chil­dren pre­fer to have their mother at the wheel, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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