Parents Often Cause Distracted Teen Driving
Distracted Driving is a Problem; Don’t Make it Worse
We all know the dangers of distracted driving. We know that it’s almost as bad as driving drunk. If you’re the parent of a teen, then you have problem fretted over whether or not they’re being safe behind the wheel.
The truth is that most teens take unnecessary risks (and many adults as well). Studies have shown that 11% of distracted driving accidents among teenagers were fatal. The National Highway Transportation Administration also polled teens and found out that 78% of them had read text messaged while driving, and 71% had sent text messages while driving.
So how are parents making the problem worse instead of helping?
Talking without Hands Free
Despite the city-wide ban on using phones without the aid of a hands free device, people still use their phones. In fact, most of us are probably guilty of at least glancing at it to see who was calling (even if we didn’t end up answering it). Here’s where the big issues pop up.
Most parents expect their kids to answer when they call. Teens, wanting to do the right thing, will answer when their parents call, even while they are driving. They end up putting themselves in a dangerous situation because they’re trying to be good.
Here is where parents have the choice to help, or hurt, the situation.
How Parents can Help Teens Reduce Distracted Driving
There are a few ways you, as a parent, can reduce the amount of distracted teen driving out there.
Ask the Question
You want your child to answer when you call. And if they ignore the call, you worry. There’s a simple way to reduce the dangers on the road, and it’s just one simple question. As soon as they pick up, ask them, “Are you driving right now?” If they answer yes, tell them to call you back when they are safe, and then hang up. Even if the call will only be a few sentences, it’s safer for everyone to wait.
Have the Talk
We were all teenagers once, and most of us hated the lectures we were given. Especially when they were done in a condescending manner. Gentle reminders, such as, “Remember, no phones while driving!” as they head out the door can plant that image firm in their mind that they need to keep it put away. At least once you should review the “rules of the road” and tell them in no uncertain terms that it is never acceptable to use the phone and drive.
Walk the Walk
Words are meaningless if we don’t follow our own advice. So any time you are behind the wheel, even if your teen isn’t in the car with you, keep the phone put away. If you need to take a call, use a hands free device, or pull over to a safe spot. You never know when they might see you, so don’t try to “sneak one” here and there.
Install the App
Even easier than telling them to hang up, and lecturing not to drive while distracted, simply make sure the phone can’t be used while driving. There are apps you can get that will turn on the “do not disturb” feature if they detect motion. Even better, most modern phones have that built right in. If your teen has an iPhone, make sure you’re on their favorites list, and you will get an auto response text if they’re driving with DND turned on.
Big Sky Collision Center Fixes Dents and Dings
We are striving to be the best auto body repair shop in Montana. That means we want you to be safe on the road! From the newest driver, to the seasoned veteran, drive as though your life depended on it (because it certainly might!).
If you do get in a wreck, call us at 406-259-6328 and we can make sure to get your vehicle restored to full factory safety standards.