Anyone with kids knows just how fast time passes - it’s almost as if once you become a parent, you exist on a different time/space continuum. Time is still linear, but it moves in a way you can’t comprehend unless you’ve ever done an all-night cluster feed or taught someone to tie their own shoelaces. In short, our children seem to go from toddlers to teens overnight. One day you’re battling car seat installation instructions as complicated as Space Shuttle wiring specs, and in the blink of an eye you’re reminding those same kids – now driving! - to always keep their eyes on the road.
But whereas we can help protect and keep our babies and toddlers safe with car seats and boosters, teenage drivers are an entirely different type of vehicle “beast.” Teenagers do things we don’t like, and yet we still love them. No longer can you just physically pick your child up in your arms, because all of a sudden they’re built from 135lbs of muscle and freezer waffles and leg hair and are now capable of independent thought.
No matter the age of your children, your family’s safety will always be in your top two priority level (it vacillates between “for-the-love-of-…I-am-begging-you-please-let-me-sleep- …” and “safety”). Our kids have more freedom when they are teens, and since many of them start driving at only 16, parents have additional safety challenges to consider. We need to make our kids fully aware of the responsibilities of being on the road as drivers, as well as informing them about all the “what if” moments that parcel up with operating a vehicle; things like: what if you find your vehicle has been stolen, or what to do in the first moments after a collision, or even how to navigate your way to safety when hopelessly lost in bad weather.
Parents need to be cautious about “arming without harming” - that is, keeping kids safe with excellent resources to help them traverse dangers but without scaring the living daylights out of them with these scenarios. No one needs a nervous driver on the road but the balance between confident parents, confident kids, and safe driving conditions can be hard to achieve. Cell phones may seem like an easy answer, but cellphones aren’t always accessible after an accident and they certainly should never be used while driving. (And they’re not always charged or in an area with reliable cell service.)
Enter OnStar, a parent (and teen’s) new best friend and co-pilot (or guardian angel!) OnStar service is available on all Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. It’s safety with a human touch and owners simply activate an OnStar plan to benefit from the services, which are reassuring for drivers and families of all ages, and includes some great features:
A medically trained OnStar advisor is dispatched automatically when a vehicle has been in an accident and the sensors are activated. (And when we say trained, we mean it: OnStar advisors have all completed a program through the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) which is the same level of training as 911 operators.) If conscious, the advisor will guide the vehicle’s occupants through the situation. If not conscious, the advisor will stay on the line, contact first responders with the vehicle’s location and keep talking to the people in the vehicle. Because the last thing you want – for yourself OR your teen driver – is to be alone in an emergency.
No one ever wants to feel afraid or unsure of what to do – and parents certainly don’t want their kids to ever feel this way! This is where the amazing OnStar Red SOS Button Service has you (and your teenage driver) more than covered:
The OnStar red SOS button is the button for emergencies of any kind and connects you to a real live human advisor, which is the exact kind of person you need most when you’re in a time of need. Red button activation can offer you emergency medical assistance, connect you to first responders and other Crisis Assist services such as assistance in severe weather conditions or during natural disasters. (If you have or are considering OnStar service, give your whole family a briefing on the buttons’ individual uses; this helps ensure kids of all ages know which button to use in specific circumstances. By preparing family members and household teenage drivers before something happens, you’re empowering them to face the challenges of an unexpected situation.) Because in the face of an emergency or critical moment, no one wants to feel alone.
For non-critical emergencies, the blue OnStar button can be pushed to get access to services including roadside assistance for empty fuel tanks, flat tires, or other problems when you need help on the road like finding your way home with Turn-by-Turn navigation if you take the wrong exit and end up in unknown territory.
OnStar also helps members if a thief attempts to steal their vehicle with the Stolen Vehicle Assistance feature – which gives the ability to help find stolen vehicles using GPS location services, as well as alerting authorities. It can also remotely slow a vehicle, to aid in police apprehension of a thief. This can all help give peace of mind about driving and leaving your vehicle, even if it still takes you an hour to find it in the Outlet Mall parking lot.
Having a teenage driver in the house doesn’t mean you need to be a bundle of nerves for the next five (or more) years. OnStar helps protect and guide drivers of any age, and while there are challenges with young drivers, teen drivers also bring a set of unique bonuses to a family. In fact, you’ve got many things to look forward to once you have a child in the driver’s seat: you can kiss the school carpool lane goodbye, there’s someone to take younger siblings to soccer practice, and you’re never going to personally head out for milk or a loaf of bread again – you’ve got a live-in driver now!