There are few things more frightening in the world than a parent letting go… I have 2 college aged teenagers and seeing them grow up is not easy. It is not easy for me because I trust my kids, but I do not trust the world we live in. The biggest test for me was handing over the keys to my son Tommy (Dj Tommy Tunez) for the very first time. I knew he was a pretty good driver but I also knew that he grown up watching that popular movie about fast cars and playing video games to live that experience. I remember my first time behind the wheel… I too wanted to emulate everything I ever imagined about fast cars and racing (it did not help that my first car was a Toyota 1.8, which is a HUGE part of the race car culture in Puerto Rico.) I learned to respect the privilege of driving by trial and error.
My kid’s do not have to… Aside from the fact I helped get them ready for the road, I decided to take advantage of the #TeenDrive365 program and start a dialogue in my family that was bigger than the traditional “Drinking & Driving” convo. It was a conversation about real life distractions. I am guilty of it… I lead a highly mobile lifestyle where half of the business I conduct can potentially happen behind the wheel en route to my next event. So part of coming to this class was being vulnerable and honest to admit that I have bad driving behaviors that need to be corrected as well. My bad habits are as follows
- I use my phone constantly while driving, although I have invested in bluetooth tech and rely heavily on voice options these days to minimize distractions.
- I tend to look down and check email while at a red light, which is why I often get honked at when the light is green.
- With my lifestyle… eating and drinking in my car is very common. I recognize that this is a MAJOR distraction & probably not good for me since it is usually fast food (we all know I am trying to live healthier)
- I love music and sometimes my radio can be a distraction if I decide to trade stations while driving. (My son’s biggest distraction as well)
SPOILER —–> After the class I committed to eliminating these distractions from my driving culture.
I decided to invest two days, one in Long Island at Millennium Toyota and the second in NJ at Auto land Toyota to spend time with each of my twins and make this conversation important. The experience was overwhelmingly positive. [Check out my daughter’s post here]
First off, Jim Million is one of the most charismatic trainers and delivers the message with LOVE… by the time he was done… he was posing for selfies and was the newest addition to a few families as “Uncle Jim” Secondly… the course by design does what it says it supposed to do, educate you about driving habits, make you aware of some alarming statistics, get you familiar with new technology geared towards protecting the lives of your passengers and to make you think twice about indulging in dangerous behavior while behind the wheel. It helps new drivers develop a better respect for the privilege of driving. It does all of this in an interactive way… and without pushing or selling the Toyota brand. My absolute favorite part of this event was the “Distraction Simulator” where we all had the opportunity to drive and insert distractions to see what the potential impact something like opening a water bottle can have on you and your passengers safety.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have this forum to have this conversation that realistically may have not happened in real life with out the tools that Toyota made available. THANK YOU!