Most parents worry about the day their child will get a driver's license and start driving on the roads without any adult supervision. It is a logical worry as, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers 20 years old and younger have the highest percentage of fatal accidents due to distracted driving. That is a terrifying thought. So what are the most common distractions for young drivers and what can you do about them to keep your child safer?
The Cell Phone
This is absolutely, hands-down, the number one distraction for teenagers. According to the CDC, nearly half of teenagers 16 and older mess around on their phones while driving. This includes texting, emailing or updating social media. The thought process behind texting and driving tends to be, "It will only take a second." That second is more than enough time for the driver in front of you to slam on their brakes or for you to drift across the double yellow lines.
The solution is simple. Do not use let your teen use a phone while driving. There are apps available for download that can help ensure your teenager is not using their phone while driving. Each apps is different, but they range from the app being able to tell when the car is in motion and disabling all texts and emails, to allowing the driver to hear and respond verbally to texts or emails. Parents should also lead by example and not use their phones while driving.
The cell phone is not the only distraction teens face while driving. Anything that takes their focus from the road can result in a car accident. This can include having friends in the car, flipping through the radio stations, and eating. While it is very hard for parents to monitor their teen's activities when they are away from them, rules should be set in place to help ensure your child's safety.
One thing you can do is limit the amount of young passengers they are allowed to have inside the car with them. Teach teens that the radio can wait until they have stopped or that they should start a playlist before the car ever moves. As for eating, tell your teens to stop and eat. They should not try to pass out food while driving, or pop a fry in their mouth. Advise that they either go inside the restaurant and eat, or do so with the car parked.
The early years of driving can be scary, which is why having good insurance coverage and driver's education for teenagers is essential. Teens have an invincibility complex and believe nothing can happen to them. It is important to have rules and repercussions established for your teens to help limit their distractions while driving so you don't have to deal with the result of a crash. Avoiding crashes will not only keep teens safe, but will also keep your auto insurance quote low.