Distractions within the vehicle are a major reason for teen traffic tickets. These tickets come with fines, points on a license and even increased insurance rates.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are some ways that you can help prevent your teen from distracted driving and turn him or her into a safer driver.
Identify distracted driving behaviors
First, you should have ongoing discussions with your teen about what constitutes distracted driving. He or she may automatically think it refers to texting or otherwise using a mobile device while driving, but there are actually many additional actions such as:
- Eating or drinking
- Fixing hair or applying makeup
- Adjusting the sound system
- Inputting directions into the navigation system
- Talking to passengers in the car
Explain that distracted driving is anything that diverts your focus from the primary action of operating a vehicle. Also, cite the statistic that sending or checking one text removes your vision from the road for 5 seconds, which would be the same thing as closing your eyes and then driving the whole length of a football field.
Propose ways to avoid distracted driving
As a parent, the best way to raise a safe teen driver is to model good behavior for your children. Set your GPS before you take off, find a safe place to pull over if you need to send or receive a text, and do not snack while you are operating a vehicle. Explain your expectations for him or her with respect to all of these behaviors.
Make up a contract with your teen that includes a pledge to commit to distraction-free driving and ask your child to talk to their friends about this issue. And encourage him or her to speak up when they see their friends doing things that remove their eyes from the road.