There are a lot of factors that can create distractions on the road. From accidents you pass, passengers in your car, snacks you eat to cell phones. Maybe you have a grip on fighting these distractions while you drive, but you aren’t so sure about your teenage child.
There are many ways you can help your teen both when they are driving on their own and when you are with them. You can set up rules, hold your child accountable and set an example of safe driving. Creating rules for your teen child who has a license to drive can help them avoid common sources of distractions that people face behind the wheel.
Here are three ways you can encourage your teen to stay safe behind the wheel:
- Limit passengers: Even after your teen driver makes it past their first year of holding a license and following state laws on passenger limits, it can be helpful to still set a limit. The more occupants in the vehicle, the greater the opportunity there is for someone to distract a driver with a conversation or their actions.
- Limit technology: Cell phones and voice-to-text technology can both be very distracting. Plus, it’s against state law to read, write and send text messages while driving. To help limit your child’s cell phone use when they are driving solo, you can encourage them to use an app that blocks them from texting. Plus, there are apps you can both download that allow you to lock your child’s phone when you know they are driving.
- Limit your own distractions: When you are in the driver’s seat, it is essential to set an example to your children — those with and without driver’s licenses. Kids naturally look up to their parents and mimic their actions, so it’s important to not normalize eating meals, making direct eye contact with passengers or taking long phone calls while driving.
You can establish a sense of accountability by letting your child know that you will take away privileges, like their cell phone or vehicle, if they refuse to follow your rules. Remind them that even if you aren’t there to witness them disobeying the law or being a distracted driver, there are legal consequences that they may face if a police officer catches them in the act.