Your Teenage Driver – How Distracted Are They?

Earlier in October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored Teen Driver Safety Week which highlighted the dangerousness of Distracted Teenage Driving. This particular initiative only lasted for seven days, however, teen driver safety is a topic that should be discussed all year long.

Likely the most pressing concern for safety behind the wheel for drivers of all ages is Distracted Driving. The current generation of teen drivers are among the first to grow up in a completely “connected” society. The allure of social media, email, and games is tough for anybody to resist. Listed below are a few ways to help your teen understand the dangers of Distracted Driving:

  • Provide your teen with real life examples in a controlled environment by enrolling them in an advanced crash-prevention program.
  • Have frequent, open and honest discussions about distracted driving. Share clear and indisputable facts about the real consequences it can have. For example, about 10% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash. Visit NHTSA’s Teen Driving Site for additional information.

Of course, drivers of all ages should eliminate dangerous distracted driving behaviors.

Helpful Hints to Prevent Distractions While Driving

  • Before heading to your destination, set your GPS. Pull over to a safe location if you need to change destinations enroute.
  • Really consider placing your cell phone in the glove compartment or middle console. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • If you are following your GPS for directions, turn on any safety features the phone may have. Putting your iPhone on “Do Not Disturb” allows only certain contacts to be able to reach you. Apple also just recently launched a new feature called “Do Not Disturb While Driving” which automatically engages “Do Not Disturb” on your phone when it senses you are in a moving vehicle.
  • Use Bluetooth connected devices for phone calls instead of putting the phone to your ear. Do know, however, even hands-free calling creates a distraction.

Unfortunately, accidents can still occur. Even if you do everything right, others may not. As parents, we need to be setting a better example for our teens. When they see their parents and family members obeying the rules of the road, young drivers get the message.

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