5 ways to help your teen understand the dangers of texting and driving
For teens, being handed a drivers license is like being handed freedom. They have the ability to go anywhere they desire, at any time. But being behind the wheel is much more dangerous than many may realize and distractions are all around.
Texting and driving is a regular occurrence, and is quickly becoming a common killer. According to Texting and Driving Safety, in 2011, at least 23 percent of car collisions involved cell phones. Even more frightening is 77 percent of young adults are very or somewhat confident they can text while driving while 55 percent claim it is easy to text and drive.
The statistics regarding this dangerous act is extensive and disheartening. Teens feel invincible. Without helping your teen and other family members understand the dangers of texting and driving, they may become part of those scary and tragic statistics.
It is important your children understand the dangers of texting and driving. Sit down and review statistics. There are many videos and studies available online that show the consequences of texting and driving. Additionally, studies show that texting and driving are more dangerous than drunk driving. If you don’t let your teens drive drunk, why would you want them texting?
2. Set and enforce family rules
As a parent, it is important you do all you can to put a stop to texting and driving. First, you must educate your family members, and then set family rules to prevent it from happening. If you find your children are breaking these rules, provide adequate punishments. Don’t let it slide. When you show that you are serious about texting and driving, the dangers and consequences of this action begin to stick with them.
3. Use mobile apps
There are several mobile apps available that can prevent you and your children from texting while behind the wheel. The AT&T DriveMode app will automatically send a reply to any incoming text messages to let the sender know you are driving and will respond later. Textecution uses GPS capabilities to determine the speed of your vehicle. If you are traveling faster than 10 miles per hour, the app will disable your texting capabilities, so you are not tempted. Several other applications will read all incoming text messages out loud and allow you to respond by speaking instead of typing.
If you want your teens to be safe while behind the wheel, you need to show it. Your children watch your every move. If you are constantly on the phone while driving, you can expect the same behavior from your children. When you establish family rules, remember they apply to you just as much as any family member.
5. Set the phone out of reach while driving
When you hear a text message notification, it becomes tempting to see who is trying to communicate with you and what they want. When driving, have your teen turn his phone to silent, or turn on a texting while driving mobile app, then place it out of reach. Whether she sets the phone in the back seat, in the glove compartment or even deep in a bag, the key is to get the temptation out of sight and out of mind.
Texting and driving is scary, much scarier than many teens and young adults realize. Help your family members and other individuals stay safe while on the road by helping your teens understand the dangers of distracted driving.
Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.