Texting and Driving; How to Protect Your Teen
I know, you’ve hear it a million times, but I’m here to tell you again. With the rise of technology comes a rise in unintended and dangerous consequences, particularly texting and driving. And, while most people think of teenagers as the culprit, people of ALL ages are guilty of distracted driving. In fact, 49-percent of adults have admitted to texting while driving, and let’s be honest…we know that number is much higher. So, how are parents supposed to keep their teen drivers from texting while driving when adults, who are well aware of the dangers, still do it? Do as I say, not as I do?? Hopefully, the following tips can help you protect your teen from driving while distracted (especially the last one!).
Instruct Them Not to Use their Cells when DrivingKind of a “duh” here, but you wouldn’t believe the number of parents who don’t state the obvious to their kids. Give your teen driver clear and simple instructions to put their phone down when driving. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second can lead to injury or death. Let them know that no text, no phone call is important enough to risk their lives and this includes reading, not just responding. They can wait until they reach their destination to check their phone, not to mention there are tons of “text stops” on the way if it is an emergency.
Be a Good Example
We’ve all done it. Admit it. But, the best way to teach your children not to use their cell phones while driving is to lead by example. That means staying off your phone whenever you’re on the road. If you must use your phone, pull into a safe place before using it. This simple act will have a bigger impact on your teen driver than anything you try to tell them.
Be Active and Informed
According to the CDC, nine Americans die every day in distracted driving accidents. Every day. No one thinks it can happen to them, but I’m sure all of these stats had the same knowing feeling. As a parent of a teen driver, you should be active and informed and know the statistics of distracted driving. This means setting rules for your teen and yourself on driving without distractions. Sorry girls, this includes putting on your mascara! Share what you have learned with family, friends, students and parents. Passing on the information may help save the life of another.
And, if all else fails, have them watch this video. It shows how Belgian learner drivers reacted when they were told they had to pass the mobile phone test in order to get their driver’s license. It’s brilliant.