We’ve mentioned in past blog posts that according to the National Safety Council an estimated 25% of car accidents are caused by cell phone distractions. And that number is likely higher among younger, inexperienced drivers whose cell phones are practically an extra appendage. Here are a few simple things you can do as a parent to encourage your teen to put down the phone and drive.
1. Lead by example
You may not realize it, but while your teen is learning to drive, he or she is paying close attention to your driving habits. For your safety as well as to set a good example, make a point of never using your phone behind the wheel. This shows your teen that ignoring the phone while driving isn’t a punishment for inexperienced drivers: It’s a precaution everyone should take, like buckling a seatbelt.
2. Talk to your kids
Don’t rely on your teen to notice that you’re not using your phone behind the wheel. Take a few minutes to explain the dangers of texting while driving. Use the information on this infographic, from the National Safety Council, and be sure to remind them that it’s OK to take an emergency call or text in the car – just pull over first.
3. Explore high-tech solutions
There are several smartphone apps that can reduce the temptation of picking up the phone while driving. Most of these apps work by limiting the functionality of the phone when the car exceeds about 25 mph. Research a few options on the smartphone platform your teen uses; if your son or daughter doesn’t have a smartphone, encourage them to get into the habit of turning their phone off before getting behind the wheel.
As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to influence your teen’s driving behavior. Making sure your teen understands the dangers of texting while driving can go a long way toward keeping you your son or daughter safe.