Having teenage drivers in your home may increase your concern about the dangers of distracted driving. Helping your children learn the importance of responsibility behind the wheel may minimize their risks of injury.
When you understand why teenagers are at a substantially higher risk of distraction, you may effectively implement boundaries to discourage dangerous behaviors.
Learning to drive takes more time than you may realize. Sure, your teen may fully understand how to operate a vehicle, but their confidence to mitigate hazards and respond to other vehicles on the road comes with time and experience. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, inexperienced drivers between the ages of 15- and 19-years old face the highest risk of distraction.
Tasks as simple as programming a radio or talking with a passenger can create a dangerous diversion of your teen’s attention. One thing you can do as a parent is to eliminate the distractions your teen faces while driving. For example, restrict how many passengers your teen can drive around. Implement consequences for using a phone while driving. Such actions can help your teen focus on increasing his or her experience.
Another reason for distraction among teenage drivers is invincibility. Your children may feel as though they have the capability to manage multiple tasks while operating a vehicle. Or, they may feel as though drinking and driving is something they can reasonably do. Talking with them about the consequences of such damaging behaviors may discourage such actions.
One of the best things you can do is to lead by example. When you drive with children in the car, model the type of behavior you wish for them to follow. Actively use praise and discipline to reiterate your teachings. When your teenagers have a good example to follow, they can begin developing healthy habits from the very start.