Whether you are a teenager, have one or know one, if you just started driving, you are probably excited. It feels great to finally have the freedom to move around without needing your parents to take you everywhere.
You might also feel the thrill of increased responsibility. Many teenagers feel good about having greater responsibility. However, it is important to talk about the other side of this, which is the risks that come with it.
Drivers face one significant risk every day when they drive, which is distracted driving. This risk is higher in teenage drivers, making it even more important to understand what this is, how common it is and how to prevent it.
You’ve probably heard about this one a lot, but it’s worth mentioning because the risk is not temporary. In fact, the risk is not going away anytime soon because manufacturers keep producing and selling new cars with integrated technology that distracts drivers.
Let’s talk about the most common distractions while driving:
- Using your phone for texting or talking
- Using your phone or tablet to use social media
- Using your phone or electronic device to take photos
- Listening to music, eating inside the car and putting on makeup
These activities pose an enormous risk to both drivers and passengers. In addition, you are risking the lives of innocent bystanders, pedestrians who could walk by or other drivers in vehicles that surround yours.
It takes a split second of distraction to cause a serious accident. These types of accidents can lead to injuries and serious legal problems, including vehicular manslaughter, which is like a murder charge. This is something you should know so you can understand the importance of avoiding distractions.
- Make a pledge to yourself and your friends to keep your phones out of reach while driving. If you need to use your phone, pull over to a safe spot or have a passenger assist you.
- Stick to the speed limit and remember that it’s there for a reason—to keep everyone safe. Plan your trips with plenty of time to spare so you don’t feel rushed to get there.
- Always have a designated driver if you’re planning to drink or use alternative transportation like a rideshare service or public transit. Never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking or using drugs.
- Prevention Tip: Limit the number of passengers in your car, especially when you’re a new driver. Follow your state’s laws regarding teen passengers and focus on driving safely without distractions.
When talking to teenagers about these risks, it’s essential to be honest. Share real-life stories and statistics to illustrate the potential consequences of risky driving behavior.
Encourage open communication and remind them that it is okay to speak up if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe as a passenger.
Ultimately, the key to staying safe on the road is to be responsible and vigilant. Remember that your actions behind the wheel can have serious consequences, so make smart choices and prioritize safety above all else. Congratulations on getting your license, and here’s to safe travels ahead!