Distracted driving is when a driver engages in an activity unrelated to the actual operation of their vehicle.
While distracted driving is a problem for all drivers, studies have shown that teens are particularly susceptible to becoming distracted while they are behind the wheel.
With around 60% of teen accidents caused by distracted driving, it’s important to take steps to educate your teen about the dangers of driving while distracted.
Here’s how you can tackle the topic of teens and distracted driving.
Causes of Distracted Driving
While most people associate distracted driving with cell phone use, there are actually many different activities that can pull your teen’s attention away from the road. Common causes of distracted driving include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Using a mobile device to use the internet while driving and surf the web
- Watching videos or movies or using entertainment devices
- Using social media or taking selfies or streaming live video
- Grooming (combing hair, putting on makeup)
- Partying in the car, having rowdy passengers, and even dancing
- Reading, whether it’s a newspaper or textbook, visually reading directions or instructions, or email
- Attempting to drive while under mental or emotional distress
Teaching Your Teen to Avoid Distracted Driving
After you have reviewed these common causes of distracted driving with your teen, discuss ways to avoid your teen from engaging in distracted driving behaviors.
For instance, you ask them to set their phone to “driving mode.” When your phone is in this mode, it will not receive texts or calls and will inform your contacts that you are currently behind the wheel and therefore not able to respond.
Additionally, you can encourage your child to simply pull over if they are too distracted by their thoughts or emotions to concentrate on driving.
Another way you can impress the importance of avoiding distracted driving onto your teen is by outlining the consequences of such actions. For instance, you should highlight the moral implications of distracted driving; not only does it place them at risk, but it risks the lives of other innocent parties.
You can also discuss the financial implications associated with distracted driving; the possibility of tickets, car repairs, and increased insurance rates. When your teen understands everything that’s at risk, they will be far more likely to refrain from distracted driving behaviors.