Getting a driver’s license is definitely a milestone in your teen’s life. It is a huge step on the road to freedom and independence. However, with all of today’s technological advances, distracted driving is more common than ever before. You no doubt want your teen to avoid a car accident at all costs. Here are some suggestions for talking to your teen about distracted driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,166 people killed in 2017 due to distracted driving. Teens between the ages of 15 and 19 comprised 7% of that figure, at 229 deaths. When you have a teen learning to drive, it is not enough to merely teach him or her the rules of the road. It is also imperative for you to have an open dialogue about what conduct is acceptable behind the wheel and what is forbidden.
First, talk about what is meant by the term “distracted driving” so there is no confusion. This includes behaviors such as texting or otherwise using a mobile device, eating or drinking, fiddling with the entertainment or navigation systems and grooming actions such as brushing hair or applying makeup.
Then, consider drawing up a contract between you and your teen. This can include whatever you want, but should also contain certain rules or conditions such as:
- Adhering to the laws of the road at all times, especially with respect to speeding
- Wearing a seatbelt every time he or she drives
- No distracted driving behaviors
- The maximum number of peers allowed as passengers
- What hours your teen can use the vehicle
Limiting temptation helps your child focus on the road and therefore makes a car accident less likely. By having repeated and extensive conversations, you can help your teen become a confident, conscientious driver.