Teen driver’s see the acquisition of a driver’s license as a step towards freedom. Teens may be eager to drive but they are not ready for the same level of driving responsibility as adults. Teens have a higher rate of fatal crashes due to the lack of maturity, absence of driving skills, and an absence of experience. Some of these crashes also endanger the lives of first responders.
A teen’s inexperience makes them more susceptible to become distracted when operating a vehicle. One in three teens who text, have stated that they have done so while behind the wheel of a car. Even though texting seems innocent and quick, looking away for five seconds can have greater implications. Researchers have found that dialing a phone number while driving increases the risk of crashing by six times. Texting while driving increasing the risk of crashing by twenty-three times.
Simple tasks may seem innocent; however, they can take a teen’s focus away from the road and it reduces their ability to react to a possible roadway hazard, an incident, or prevents them from driving efficiently in inclement weather.
Texting, or making phone calls on the road are common reasons to become distracted, but there are many others. Distracted driving includes eating or even drinking coffee while driving. While seemingly harmless, a possible food or drink spill can distract the driver when operating a vehicle. Other possible distractions include: applying makeup, taking selfies or snapchatting, looking through music on your cellphone, checking social media, or even other passengers in the car.
As a parent of a teen, there are several precautions that can be taken to ensure their safety. Being a good example when behind the wheel of a car can be key to instilling good driving in a teen. Parents should also make sure that they communicate with their teen, and make sure they are aware of the seriousness of being behind the wheel of a vehicle. Parents should make sure that they are able to communicate the dangers of being distracted on the road.
A few tips that can prevent distractions while a teen is operating a vehicle are setting some consequences. Possible consequences include suspending driving privileges or limiting the times and locations they are allowed to drive to. Parents can also set a ‘Do Not Disturb’ safety feature on their child’s phones to prevent them from using them while driving unless they are connected to the car’s Bluetooth or another hands-free accessory.