Summer is in full-swing, which just so happens the months with the most teen distracted driving accidents reported, and now is the time to talk to your kids about texting and driving. As parents, we need to act as reinforces, educators and advocates for safety but with technology being so accessible and a staple in our lives, it is often to demonstrate to our teens how and why they need to put down the phones when they hop behind the wheel. Below you will find 3 ways to keep your teen safer behind the wheel this summer.
1. Talk to Your Teen
You may not think that your teen is listening, but they are! A new study released about texting and driving habits in teens found that those teens whose parents talked to them about texting and driving were less likely to text and drive themselves. So even though, you may get the “I know, Mom…” or typical teen eye-roll, don’t let that stop you from talking because even though they might not show it, your conversations matter and mean something to them and could be the life and death difference.
2. Demonstrate Good Behavior
Whether you realize it or not, your kids are watching you. The little things that you do like answering that text that came in from work, or taking your eyes off the road for a second to make a call – they see it, and if you are doing it, you can bet they are doing it, too. Be the example of what you want your kids to be like in the car. Disconnect with technology and use the time to talk to your kids, about their days, their habits, their lives! That text or phone call can wait until you stop.
3. Fight Technology with Technology
For most people, especially kids who grew up with laptops and cell phones around, it is hard to disconnect from technology. Cell phones, mp3 players, tablets they are now extensions of us and staples in our everyday lives. From being used as our alarms in the morning, to our maps to our destination we rely on technology. But, that isn’t an excuse any longer to employ bad behavior! We can disconnect from technology during driving by using other technology. There are many great apps out there that you can install on your kid’s phones that lock the phone when they are driving, send automatic reply messages received en route and disable certain functions- the greatest part is many are free!
The statistics on teens involved in texting and driving accidents is quite alarming, but you can have a hand in ensuring that your teen is using the proper safety precautions this summer. Step up to the plate and talk to your kids. After that, take a pledge to be a good role model for them in the way that you drive, and use the free options out there to have control when you are not there.