Distracted driving is becoming a considerable safety issue across the country, and all ages are to blame.
As a parent with a teen ready to start driving, you may worry about them being distracted on the road or not exhibiting safe practices once they start riding with friends. One of the best ways to discourage teens from distracted driving is to lead by example.
As a parent, you are the frontline defense against bad driving habits. You can show your teenager how to avoid distractions so that they are safe on the road.
Teens Are Driving Distracted in Grand Junction and Surrounding Areas
Teens causing distracted driving accidents are becoming a cause for concern in the U.S. In fact, one report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that distracted driving causes 15 percent of injury accidents in the United States. Furthermore, nine percent of teens ages 15 to 19 years were involved in a distracted driving accident that led to a fatality.
Teen drivers are one of the highest age groups at risk for distracted driving.
The Connected Age Makes Teens Vulnerable to Distracted Driving Accidents
These days, adults and teens alike are glued to their smartphones. Everything we do is connected – from checking email to social media and more. The average person spends hours on their devices each day, because they rely on their devices to stay connected for work, school, and personal.
One study found that the average person spends about four hours of their day on their smartphone. That equates to a quarter of their waking hours each day.
Parents are just as guilty of this, too. A working parent may have emails, clients, and even in-house communications that they monitor on their phones throughout the day. While this is acceptable, the one place no one should be remaining “connected” is in their car while behind the wheel.
Tips for Parents on How to Exhibit Safe Driving Behaviors Behind the Wheel
Children learn from their parents, and they pick up habits that are good and some that are bad. When you are watching your child learn how to drive, you should also exhibit the best behaviors as you drive your vehicle to encourage them to copy you.
The age old saying of “lead by example” stands true. Because when your teen sees that you do not drive while looking at Facebook, they will know that when you say it is unsafe, you don’t do it either.
1. Never Use Your Phone While Operating a Vehicle
To avoid distracted driving incidents with a phone, keep your phone in your purse, pocket, or where you cannot reach for it while driving. You should not text, call, or even glance at your notifications while driving. Not only is it illegal in most states to drive while on your phone, but it increases the likelihood of an accident.
2. Set the Radio and Forget It
Distracted driving is not just your phone. While it is the main culprit of these types of crashes, it can also stem from adjusting your radio. So, when you get in the car, set your radio station to what you plan to listen to and leave it there. Do not start changing the station or browse the channels, especially while driving. If you do want to change it, ask your teen to do so for you or wait until you come to a complete stop.
3. Remember Conversations Are Distracting Too
Did you know that talking to your passenger as you drive takes your brain away from the task of driving? Most people get so comfortable with driving that they forget they are doing it. While it is almost second nature, it is still something that deserves your full attention. You should keep your eyes on the road and your mind on your surroundings.
As you converse with another person, you are no longer focusing on the vehicles around you, traffic signals, and you may not notice the car in front of you is signaling to change lanes.
4. Eating Is a Distraction
Eating foods, especially full meals, can be distracting. While sometimes you must eat as you drive, stick to snacks that are easily consumed without creating a mess or something that you usually would use two hands to eat.
5. Arguments and Loud Voices
Whether you are in the car with the entire family and arguing with one another or you have a child screaming in the backseat, these are all types of distractions that take your focus away from the road.
Avoid any heated discussions or arguments on the road if you can, and teach your teen driver to do the same.
6. Gradually Allow Your Teen to Have Friends in the Car
When your teen gets his or her driver’s license, do not let them have friends in their car right away. Some states prohibit a new driver from having anyone in the car for up to six months. But even if your state doesn’t have that law, you should prevent friends from riding along for a few months. Make sure your teen is comfortable behind the wheel. Monitor their progress, and then decide when they are ready to add the potential distraction of a friend. Even then, only allow them to drive with one friend until you are confident they are capable of more friends in the car as they drive.
When Distracted Driving Accidents Occur, You Have Rights
Whether it is you or your teen injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you have rights. The most significant right that you should exercise is the right to compensation. After all, you did not cause the accident, but now you must face the financial consequences of that accident.
Speak with an injury advocate regarding your accident. Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., has helped clients just like you stand up to insurance companies and get the compensation they need for not only vehicle damage, but medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.
To get started, call us to request a free consultation or request more information online.