Distracted driving can be a huge problem for anybody, but especially for teens who are often new to being behind the wheel. Driving while distracted can slow down reactions in the event of a potential accident, especially for teen drivers who might not have much driving experience. Understanding the facts and statistics around distracted driving can make it easier for families to manage this dangerous risk on the roads and avoid a serious auto accident.
Texting and Phone Use:
One of the biggest causes of teens distracted driving is smartphones. Using a cell phone while driving should be absolutely out of the question; if you are concerned that your teen is putting themselves in danger by taking calls or even texting when driving then it may be worth having a conversation with them about the potential consequences and getting them a hands-free kit so that they can answer calls when needed without having to take their attention from the road.
Thousands of passengers,teen drivers, and pedestrians die on the roads or are seriously injured every year due to teen drivers distracted by their smartphones, so no matter how much you might want to text your crush back, leave your phone in the holder until you’re safely parked up.
If you are a parent of a newly qualified teen driver, it may be a wise idea to limit the number of passengers that they are allowed to take in their car at any one time. Having a car full of passengers can be very distracting for a new, teen driver who might not yet be experienced enough to hold a conversation with their friends while remaining alert to the road at the same time. Having two or more passengers makes the risk of a fatal collision three times as likely when a teen is driving, so no matter how tempting it is to offer your friends a ride, don’t let them all in your car at once.
There’s nothing better than driving along an empty highway with your favorite tunes playing on your car stereo, but when you’re a newly qualified teen driver, go easy on the music. If you’ve ever had to turn your music down so that you can concentrate better on the road signs, then you’ve experienced distraction in action.
Blaring tunes might be fun but it can also prevent you from hearing important things when on the road, such as oncoming emergency sirens, or even problems with your car. There’s nothing wrong with listening to music but keep it at an acceptable volume and have a driving playlist ready so you’re not looking away from the road to change the track.
Eating and Drinking:
You might think nothing of swinging by a drive-thru and picking up a burger and fries to enjoy on your road trip but if you’re driving, it can become a serious distraction. Holding a burger and eating it with one hand will seriously impair your ability to react in the event of a potential crash, and at best you’re going to end up with food all over your car and at worse, your car could be smashed up and you could be hurt.
So, it’s best to eat your food while safely parked up; you can use your cup holder to take a drink along with you but refrain from drinking if you’re on a road where you need to be on high alert due to busy traffic, pedestrians, and junctions.
If you have a dog, then you’re probably excited about taking them on road trips with you to the beach or park that are too far to get to on foot. But driving with a pet in the car can be seriously distracting and very dangerous if they are not suitably restrained. If you want to take a dog in your car, you should get a car-safe crate to transport them in, or a doggy seat belt attachment, which you can clip onto their harness and put in the seat belt to keep them secured in the seat.
Stating driving with your first car as a teen is very exciting but unfortunately, it’s during this time when you are more likely to be at risk of being involved in a collision. Distracted driving is a big cause of crashes for teens, so be sure to eliminate distractions and keep your eyes on the road.