I would have to say one of the most frightening yet rewarding experiences I have had in raising kids has been seeing them learn to drive. As the white-knuckled instructor in the passenger seat, I slammed my foot down on an imaginary brake pedal hundreds of times while my two kids were learning to maintain control of a vehicle on our state's roadways.

I am proud to say both of my kids have become excellent drivers, at least when I'm in the car. Since I can't be in the car all the time when my kids are driving, I count on them to know the rules of the road. Some are obvious, others have to be learned and that's why Louisiana's Teen Driver Safety Week is all about.

The program is supported by Louisiana State Police who unfortunately are among the first on the scene when a teenage driver makes a poor choice while behind the wheel. Troopers encourage you to go over basic safe driving tips with your kids not only during this special week but from time to time during the year. The refresher will help make you a better driver too.

State Police Troopers say that safety belt usage and following the speed limit are two of the bigger issues they find in teenage drivers. There is also a reason to bring up distractions while driving. We all know the dangers of cellphone use but other things like eating, checking makeup, or playing with the music in the car can cause even the best drivers to lose control.

Still, out of all of those issues, Troopers hope the one message that your young driver will hear now and understand every time they take the wheel is this one. Do not operate a motor vehicle while impaired. Sure, don't drink and drive but don't smoke pot and drive either, yeah teenagers smoke pot if you're surprised by that fact then you need to up your parenting game.

For that matter driving under the influence of prescription medications or even over-the-counter meds can cause issues too. It's important that you make these issues important to your teenager. There are already enough idiots on our state's roadways, we don't need you adding one more, so please. Take a moment to love your teen driver and teach them a better way.

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