For teens, a first driver’s license comes with a sense of excitement, and freedom. But with that newfound freedom also comes great responsibility. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In fact, in 2010, about 2,700 teens in the United States aged 16–19 were killed and almost 282,000 were treated and released from emergency departments for injuries suffered in collisions (CDC). These numbers are staggering and should serve as a reminder for first time drivers and seasoned driving veterans alike to drive defensively and avoid distraction. Driver distraction leads one to take their hands and eyes off of the road, and increases the chance for collision.
Here are some of the top driver distractions:
- Using cell phones (including texting)
- Applying makeup
- Changing the radio station
- Distraction from interacting passengers
Here are some tips to help condition yourself, or your teen driver, to focus on the road.
- Set a good example. Parents can set a good example for their teen drivers by obeying the rules of the road and avoiding distraction themselves.
- Eat before driving. This way, you won’t be tempted to snack while you are behind the wheel.
- Avoid temptation. Turn off the ringer on your phone while you driving and place your phone out of reach. If you think you may be tempted to send a text or answer a phone call while you are driving, place your phone in the glove compartment or backseat. Out of sight, and out of mind. You can check any messages once you have reached your destination and safely parked the car.
- Set up a playlist on your MP3 player before you drive. You won’t have to take your eyes off of the road or your hands off the wheel to find a good song while driving.
Remember that driver distraction puts the driver, any passengers, and others on the road at risk. What other safe driving tips would you pass on to a new driver?
© 2013 GDL Institute.org