Lesson 7: Why Distracted Driving is Always a Risk
Though many driving habits get better with experience, distracted driving is not one of them. There seems to be no age limit on who is willing to take their eyes off the road and place it on their phone, which can set a dangerous example for your teen. No matter how much your teen has improved behind the wheel, distracted driving will always be a risk. Here are some tips for helping your teen avoid this dangerous action.
Though the best option is to put phones away during every drive (glove compartments are great homes for them), the reality is that many drivers use their phones for music, podcasts and GPS directions. Help your teen take a realistic approach to this risk by encouraging him or her to set these systems before starting the drive. Playlists, podcasts and directions can all be programmed and then left alone, leaving your teen free to focus on the road. An even better option, however, is to have your teen set his or her phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode, which prevents notifications for texts and calls from popping up while driving.
The temptation to use a phone may never go away, but you can help your teen recognize the risks and make better decisions. Whether your teen just got a license or has been driving alone for more than a year, the rule should be the same: no distracted driving of any kind. Stick to this rule every time you ride with your teen, and hold yourself to the same standard. No one can safely drive distracted, so don’t assume this is a risk your teen can live with.
Talk: Make this a major part of your New Driver Deal, with serious consequences. Though the agreement already includes sections about both teens and parents avoiding phone use behind the wheel, you can add in details like a loss of privileges for breaking these rules. Talk this through with your teen so you both agree on what’s fair, and stick to it, even after your teen has a license.