Preventing Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention off the road, including eating, texting, chatting with people in the vehicle, or looking at your phone for any reason. While distracted driving is a cause for concern for any driver, it’s especially worrisome for teen drivers who don’t have much driving experience.
Distracted driving comes in many forms including:
Visual - taking your eyes off the road
Manual - taking your hands off the steering wheel
Cognitive - taking your mind off of driving
Did you know that if you take your eyes off the road for just five seconds while driving 55 mph, that would be like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed? That’s dangerous for even the most experienced driver! New drivers are more likely to overcorrect, swerving into another lane or even off the road. So, what can you do to help your teen driver from driving distracted? Plenty!
One of the most important things you can do to help your teen drive safely is to discuss common distractions and how to avoid them. Then, practice focused driving, pointing out distractions and how you avoid them.
Phone - Phone calls and messages can be distracting for any driver. Make a commitment as a family to not use your phones while driving. There are also apps that can automatically go to the Do Not Disturb setting when driving is detected.
Friends - Experienced, adult drivers have fewer accidents when there are other people in the vehicle. Teens, however, have more accidents when they are driving with other teens. Parents can limit the number of people allowed in the vehicle with your teen driver or only allow friends in the vehicle after your teen has been driving for 6 months or a year.
Distractions on the Road - Even with limited distractions in the vehicle, inexperienced drivers can be distracted by events on the road like passing by an accident or a disabled vehicle. To help your teen remain concentrated on driving, encourage them to remain focused on the road and driving conditions around them. This is also a great opportunity to lead by example when you are driving.
If you are, or will be, teaching your teen to drive, you may be looking for guidance about how to help them become the safest driver possible. That’s why I’ve created a course to help you coach your teen driver. Start by downloading a FREE copy of Safe Driving Coach: Parent’s Guide 5 Solutions to Common Teen Driving Mistakes.