Distracted driving has become a major problem on our roads for both new and experienced drivers. Before your teen gets behind the wheel, he or she needs to understand the dangers of this epidemic.
Though cell phones may seem crucial to everyday life, they can pose serious hazards behind the wheel. Sending a quick text might seem harmless, but it’s a lot more dangerous than most of us realize. According to the CDC and NHTSA, taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds at 55mph is the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Long before your teen gets into the driver’s seat, talk through this risk, and make sure he or she understands just how dangerous it is to drive distracted.
If you truly want your teen to avoid distracted driving, you have to set the example and avoid it yourself. This means keeping your hands off your phone whether or not your teen is in the car and making sure your teen does the same. If you see a distracted driver while out with your teen, talk through how to respond safely by putting space between your vehicles. This can be a sensitive subject, but you should encourage your teen to talk about it with others. Even if your teen is getting a ride home from the parent of a friend, he or she should feel empowered to talk about this if the parent is distracted behind the wheel.
Practice: The best thing you can do is keep your phone out of reach while driving, but you can also set many phones to “Do Not Disturb” mode. Talk to your teen about the best option and hold each other accountable for this behavior on the road.