Did you know that half of all teenagers will be involved in a car accident before leaving high school? That figure is alarming, right? Sometimes these car accidents are due to teenagers having distracted driving – like a text message or a favorite song. Other times they happen because the driver did not know a safety rule, such as when passing or changing lanes.
As you prepare your teen driver to get out on the road, share these 19 distracted driving tips for teens to keep them safe.
Tips for stopping teenage distracted driving
Of all the age groups, teenagers are most likely to be distracted at the time of a crash. Help them stop distractions and stay focused with these tips:
- Have them turn off their cell phone or put it out of sight. The National Safety Council reports that drivers are four times more likely to have an accident if they use their telephone. Have your teen put on the silent phone while driving, store it in the glove compartment or put it in the back seat. If they need to make a call or text message, advise them to stop or park a lot to do so.
- Do not text or drive. At 55 miles per hour, the average text message takes your teenage driver̵7;s eyes off the road as they travel along an entire soccer field.
- Start the GPS before starting the car. If your teen is traveling elsewhere and they need directions from a map app, ask them to put the address in the app before they leave. Also, let them turn on the sound for voice prompts so they can keep their eyes on the road.
- Reduce the number of passengers. The more passengers your teen takes, the more distracted they become. It is best to reduce distractions with fewer (or no) passengers when they start driving.
- Do not eat or drink while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people who eat and drive increase their chances of being in a car accident by 80 percent.
- Keep the radio at a reasonable volume. It must always be at a level that allows drivers to hear oncoming emergency vehicles or nearby spouts.
Follow the road rules
Teenage drivers are responsible for more car accidents than any other age group, and car accidents happen to be the most common cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds. It is important for your teen to follow these guidelines to be safe.
- Leave enough space between the vehicles. Whether your teen is moving or stopping, they should always be able to see the ground behind the vehicle in front of them. That distance should increase enormously in wet or wintry conditions.
- Do not change file at an intersection. Changing lanes in the middle of an intersection may or may not be considered illegal in your state, but it is always considered dangerous.
- Know when it’s okay to pass and when it’s not. New drivers should not do much work. However, they should know the symbols on the road that indicate when it is okay to pass another vehicle.
- Do not use the cruise control in wet or slippery conditions. If it is raining, snowing or ice, it is risky to use the cruise control. Wet roads can be slippery and driving at a constant speed in that position can lead to aquaplaning.
How teens can be safe when driving
Small precautions can make a big difference to teens’ driving safety. Teach your teen these keys to safe driving:
- Make sure that the vehicle always has at least half a tank of gas. You always want your teenager to travel without any problems. That is why it is a good rule of thumb to make sure that the vehicle has gas to get where it is supposed to.
- Top up with emergency supplies. There are some things your teen should always have in the car … like these emergency items.
- Always know which way they are on. If your teen needs to call the police, they need to know where they are.
- Adjust the headrest to the correct height. Most drivers believe that the headrest should be behind the neck, but it should be at a height behind the head to minimize whiplash.
- Do not get out of the vehicle if it is on the road. If your teenager has a car accident, make sure they know he should stay in the vehicle where it is safest.
- Keep the doors locked and the windows raised. This will keep intruders out and your teen safe. They should also lock their doors immediately after getting in the car.
- Always leave a phone charger in the car. If something happens to your teen from point A to point B, a phone charger in the car will ensure they have enough battery life to call for help.
- Do not leave valuables in sight. Once your young driver is parked, advise them not to leave valuables such as wallets, bags, smartphones, laptops and sports equipment where they can be easily detected.
- Park under a street lamp. Parking in an illuminated area is always the safest option. And on the way to the vehicle, your teenager should go with the keys in hand.
Are you unsure of the type of vehicle to buy for your teen driver? Looking for more tips to stop teenage distracted driving? Our experts are always here. Talk to a local, independent agent today.