How to Prevent Your Teen from Being a Distracted Driver
September 5, 2016
We’re not going to sugarcoat the statistics of distracted driving… it’s a deadly habit. And unfortunately, it’s one that is especially prevalent among teenagers and young adults.
Now that your teenagers are back in school, they may be driving every day, and at the exact same time as hundreds of other students. With so many young drivers out on the road, it is normal for parents to get nervous. After all, young drivers are inexperienced. And with the rates of texting and driving as high as they are, there is a good chance your teen has been tempted to (or possibly even has) picked up the phone while behind the wheel.
If you are using your cell phone while driving, you are four times as likely to get into an auto accident. One in four motor vehicle crashes are now caused by cell phone usage, and they kill 9 Americans every single day. Use these tips and tricks to help reduce your teen’s likelihood of texting and driving.
Drive with Your Teen. Take the time to drive with your teen and hold them responsible for any bad habits they develop, like speeding or texting. They may not like it much, but the more you remind them about the dangers of distracted driving, the more they will hear you in their head when they drive alone.
This is especially important on “event” driving nights. For example, on Friday nights when your teen is heading to a big football game, they might get so excited to meet up with their friends that they pull out their phone while behind the wheel. If you are able, drive your teens to football games, school dances, or similar events where there is a lot of excitement (and possibly risks like alcohol).
We know it’s not the coolest thing to do, but it can save your child’s life when out on the road with other excited teenagers on weekends.
Let Them Go Early. When teens are late to events, they tend to get more calls and messages asking where they are. Let your teen know if they are running late for something, and do not hold them back. That way, they will get to their destination with enough time to text and meet up with their friends without feeling rushed so that they multitask while drive.
Download Safe Driving Apps. There’s an app for everything, so it should be no surprise that there are multiple apps to help your teen drive safely. Download an app like Drivebeehive, Textstar, or Thumb Tied that will alert contacts that your teen (or you!) are driving and cannot reply until they have turned off the car.
Also consider apps that will help you in case of an accident. Whether your teen causes an accident or not, they will need to know what to look for and what information to record after an accident has happened. Apps made by your insurance provider, as well as AxiKit, are very helpful for all ages.
Put Away Your Phone. Fifteen percent of teens have seen their parents texting and driving – and that’s not ok. Age does not play a part in the riskiness of texting and driving. It is deadly no matter who is on the phone.
Be a good role model for your teen so they develop smart habits. This means you should also be conscious of speeding, engaging in road rage, or other hazardous activities that can put you (or your child) at risk.
Show Your Teens The Reality of Texting and Driving. There are a lot of accident survivors and loved ones of victims who want to share their stories of texting and driving. Show these stories to your teen to help them see the realities of texting and driving. These stories may make you or your child uncomfortable – but that’s good.
Distracted Driving is Not Just Texting. Remember to use these tips when talking about all different types of distracted driving: applying makeup, eating food, playing Pokemon Go, and so on. Even just driving with friends can be extremely distracting: many parents only allow their teenager to let one or two friends ride in the car with them at a time to avoid the distractions of a packed vehicle.
Even the best and most cautious teen drivers, however, still put themselves at risk of getting into an auto accident when they hit the road. If you or a loved one have been injured in a distracted driving accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today to get started on your case.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 AVVO Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for 2010-2013 and Super Lawyers for 2014-2016.. Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.