Despite national efforts to crackdown on distracted driving by tightening laws, distracted drivers, many of them under the age of 21, are involved in distracted driving accidents. In 2015, alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver.
If those numbers are startling enough, over 600,000 drivers use an electronic device while driving during daylight hours. Given the statistics, you may be hesitant to send your young driver out on the road.
While you can’t keep them from staying away from the roads forever, you can help to educate your teen driver on the negative impacts of distracted driving. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips.
Have an Open and Honest Discussion
Driver’s education courses, as well as classes at your young driver’s school, have a lot of discussions about the dangers associated with distracted driving. As a parent, you shouldn’t assume that your teen driver has learned all he or she can about distracted driving.
When it comes to driving, it’s important to have an open and honest discussion about the dangers driving as well as your own expectations. Discuss distracted driving laws, the consequences for breaking them, and how you feel about distracted driving. While your teen may resist yet another discussion about distracted driving, it’s important.
Be a Good Role Model
Want your teen to be a safer and law-abiding driver? Be sure that you follow the same rules. If you expect your young driver to refrain from texting and driving or eating a sandwich while behind the wheel, you need to adhere to your own expectations.
Even if you have decades more experience with driving don’t automatically make you less at risk of being in an accident caused by a distracted driver. Remember, the negative impacts of distracted driving can affect any driver.
Have a Little Friendly Competition
When trying to teach your teen driver about the dangers of distracted driving, why not make it a little fun? A free online game called “Cards of Distractibility” is an effective, fun and safe way to go head to head with your teen to experience the difficulty of distracted driving.
You, the “driver,” receives a series of texts while driving down the road. After one round, you are quizzed on which signs you saw on the road while you were texting. This online tool is a fun way to get the whole family involved and still stress the importance of safe driving.
Sign a Contract or Pledge
As much as you wish you could be right there in the passenger seat while your teen drives, you won’t always be able to be there. Giving your son or daughter driving advice and tips are invaluable, and you also need to trust that he or she knows what to do.
When having a discussion with your teen about your driving expectations, creating a contract, and having both you and your teen sign it can kind of “seal the deal” and make you more accountable for your actions behind the wheel.