By Lisa Minjares-Kyle
We’d like to introduce a new topic series focusing on how health and traffic safety go hand in hand.
Traditionally, when we think about health, our minds don’t automatically think about our habits in the vehicle, but I’m here to say that we should. Besides the fact that much of your lives revolve closely around transportation whether it is through personal cars, buses, planes or bikes – transportation is a huge part of your lives and unfortunately, your deaths. For over 10 years, car crashes continue to be the leading cause of injury and death for young people ages 13-25 in America.
As members of the Teens in the Driver Seat program, you are traffic safety advocates and one of your goals should be to motivate your peers to make safer decisions while riding in a car. Some of these ways include outreach activities that spread the message and in our Conducting Meaningful Activities blog series, we talked about how to help people learn better and take more away from the experience. But, as many of you have learned, sometimes that’s still not enough and you still have people who continue to act unsafely in the car.
Change is hard for all of us, whether it is diet and exercise related or an unsafe behavior we engage in behind the wheel, but as you well know, telling someone to stop doing it isn’t enough at times. What motivates people to change is a combination of what they know, believe, think and feel. Understanding the why’s and what’s that motivate people to change can help you plan more impactful activities, campaigns and outreach events, therefore helping you be a more effective peer leader. As some anonymous person has adequately said below:
In our case, we’re hoping to motivate people to start buckling up in the back seat, stop driving distracted, stop speeding, etc. and through this change we hope to achieve an end result that sees less teen lives claimed to car crashes.
Until next time, ask yourself, what motivates you to try something new and stick with it? What kind of changes were you asked to make in your life and what obstacles did you have to overcome? Are there things you know now that you shouldn’t do, but just can’t make the commitment to stop? Understanding more about what influences your behavior can help you be more insightful when asking others to change.
Ms. Minjares-Kyle is an Associate Transportation Researcher under the Youth Transportation Safety Program at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). Her primary area of expertise involves research, development of educational materials, and outreach pertaining to young drivers. Topics of interest include: distracted driving, impaired driving, child passenger safety, peer-to-peer outreach and data analysis.