As a parent, when you have a child who’s preparing to get their license, it can feel overwhelming and emotional. There’s also a sense of anxiety and fear that comes with it. Knowing the risks and then working with your teen to proactively avoid these risks is one of the best ways you can prepare your teen to drive.
Distracted driving is one of the biggest risks, not just teens, but all of us face behind the wheel. However, teens may be more prone to distracted driving. Drivers younger than 20 have the highest rates of distraction-related fatal car crashes, in fact.
The following offers an overview of what all parents should know about distracted driving.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, distracted driving led to the deaths of 3,166 people just in 2017.
The Zebra company conducted a survey in March 2019 about distracted driving.
According to that survey, 37% of respondents who were aged 18 to 34 said they felt a high level of pressure to answer text messages related to work while driving and one in three female drivers said they’d taken photos while behind the wheel.
10% of iPhone users said they’d watched YouTube videos while driving as well.
58% of crashes that involve teen drivers are attributed to distracted driving, which includes texting while driving. Around nine people are killed every day because of distracted driving, and more than 1,000 are injured every day.
Types of Distraction
Distracted driving is a broad term, and there are three primary categories of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
These types of distracted driving include manual distraction, which is when a driver takes his or her hands off the wheel to reach for something, adjust something in their car or pet their dog. A visual distraction stems from something like looking at a text message or speaking to someone else in the car. A cognitive distraction is when someone’s mental attention isn’t on driving and is instead on some other part of their life.
Specific examples of distracted driving, along with the use of a mobile device for phone calls or texting include:
- Using entertainment devices while driving
- Taking selfies or posting on social media
- Grooming including putting on makeup
- Driving while being upset
Teens and Cell Phones
The use of cell phones is the primary reason for distracted driving among teens. Teens often have a sense of being invincible, so they may think an accident will never happen to them. As a parent, there are certain apps you can install on your teen’s phone that will prevent or at least reduce the likelihood that they’re distracted because of their mobile device when they’re behind the wheel.
Examples of apps that you might have your teen install on their phone to prevent distracted driving include SafeDrive and Drivemode.
With SafeDrive, users earn points when they don’t use their phones while driving. They can then use those points to get product discounts when they make purchases.
With the Drivemode app, users can speak to send a text as well as playing music from their phones and starting their navigation. They can also do a voice search for contacts and destinations, and they can add their favorite contacts and destinations to make searching easy.
The app automatically connects to Apple Music too.
What Parents Can Do
As a parent, you may feel helpless when it comes to preventing distracted driving accidents, but you aren’t.
First, you are a model for your teens’ behaviors, and this includes how they drive. Always practice safe, mindful driving yourself. Don’t let your teen see you eating behind the wheel, texting or doing anything else that increases your risk of being in an accident.
You should also set your own household rules as far as when your teen can drive and who can be in the car with them. Some states have laws about these things, but if not, take it into your own hands.
Speak openly and honestly with your teen about the risks of driving and the behaviors they may be engaging in as well.
You should start addressing distracted driving with your teen early on before they have their full license. Speak about possible distractions and strategies to deal with them, and speak about your personal challenges when it comes to remaining distraction-free behind the wheel because it’s an issue that affects everyone and not just teens.
Encourage your teen to pull over if they need to use their device, eat or do anything else constituting distracted driving.
Finally, once your teen gets his or her license to keep checking in with them about safe driving habits.
6 Lessons to Teach Your Teenager About Safe Driving
Ten Things Every a Teen Needs to Know About Life