Q: During our family summer vacation to Washington, D.C. this year, we kept seeing cars with big yellow signs on the back saying, “New Driver. Be Patient.” I loved those signs. Our oldest will get her license early next year, and it would be great to have this on our car so people will understand when she’s tentative at stop signs or when she’s a little pokey merging onto the highway. I thought maybe it was something the District of Columbia was providing for new drivers, but when I called the licensing bureau they said no. I’ve scrounged around online and can’t find any information. Can you give me any leads?
A: Those magnetic signs adorn a lot of cars in the Washington, D.C. area, and they’re migrating to other areas as well.
Here’s the story: A Maryland mom, when her son got his license, contacted the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration to request one of its “rookie driver” bumper magnets. Too late. The state had already distributed all it had and the funding source had dried up.
The mom, Jackie Kurtz, then began investigating alternatives, and eventually designed a “New Driver. Please Be Patient” yellow-and-black magnetic bumper/car sign she offered for sale. That was more than four years ago. Newspaper articles followed, and her cottage industry was launched.
Such a warning will not, of course, protect young drivers from all bad things, but the idea is if it causes other drivers to tailgate them or blast their horns less, one layer of stress/tension will be removed from the young driver. And any amount of pressure reduction is probably worthwhile: teen drivers have three times as many accidents as drivers in other age groups, statistics show, and much of it because of simple inexperience.
The magnetic signs can be found online: newdrivermagnets.com. They’re $12.95 (tax included) plus shipping and handling.
The website also helpfully includes links to various resources that will help young drivers and their parents, and a new-driver contract that includes such rules as don’t drive and talk on the phone, and don’t let other kids ride in the car for at least four months (because while the teen is fine-tuning skills, it is important to have no distractions).
© CTW Features
What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email Sharon@ctwfeatures.com