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Ralph Macchio and State Farm Teach Teens Safe Driving

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Ralph and Daniel Macchio for State Farm InsuranceActor Ralph Macchio — who became known for his role in The Karate Kid movies, was a hero for rescuing a baby porpoise that washed to shore, and appeared more recently on Dancing with the Stars — is now teaming up with State Farm Insurance to deliver a safe driving message to teens. In a new video series, Macchio gives his teenage son, Daniel, lessons on how to drive safely.

As Eric Stock writes on WJBC, the video is “part of a $20 million promotional campaign by State Farm to aid parents with their child’s driving lessons.” State Farm’s technology research director Chris Mullen said a lot has changed since the people who are now parents learned to drive when they were teens and are now teaching their own teens to drive: “There are all kinds of distractions, cell phones, iPods, so teaching them to drive is different.”

Macchio, quoted in a State Farm press release, concurs:

Parents need to be better equipped to understand the challenges their teens face and teach their teens those safe driving basics. I have two teenage children, and I want to make sure I do everything I can to ensure they’re safe on the road.

State Farm’s Parenting Tips to Keep Teens Safe (one of many resources the company offers) says teens whose parents set rules and monitor their activities in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to be in a car accident. The tips advise parents to make sure their teen(s) understand(s) that rules are in place for their safety, not to control them.

The suggestions include the following:

  • Set clear rules, boundaries, and expectations. Explain your reasoning, instead of saying, “You’ll do as I say.”
  • As teens become more skilled, give them new privileges.
  • Be responsive. Listen to teens’ concerns, and when it’s appropriate, modify your expectations to fit the circumstances.
  • Recognize teens’ need to become independent. Reward responsible behavior with greater privileges.
  • Let teens know you can be counted on for help and support. Be the scapegoat to help your teen save face in front of friends.
  • Make sure your teens’ friends know your tough rules.
  • Create a code word. Help teens get out of unsafe situations by texting you or calling you (but not while they are driving!) with a previously agreed upon word that lets you know they need your help to avoid an unsafe driving situation.
  • Pay attention and keep the lines of communication open. Know where teens are going and why. Discuss how they will get there and back. Provide alternatives to help them avoid unsafe driving situations.
  • Lead by example. Make sure that you follow the rules of the road, always wear a seat belt, don’t speed, and don’t talk or text on a cell phone while driving.

As an incentive for parents to encourage their teens to visit State Farm’s website, which features many pages of safe driving information and resources, the insurance company is offering a chance to win a 2012 Ford Focus SE when you explore the benefits of Road Trips™, one of the site’s tools. State Farm also invites the public to connect with it on Facebook and Twitter.

You can see one of the Ralph Macchio safe driving videos here:

Source: “Biography for Ralph Macchio,” IMDB
Image by State Farm Insurance, used under Fair Use: Reporting.

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