Don’t tell me you never looked at your phone while in the car, we are all guilty as charged. We keep our phones at arm’s distant at all times. Our phones go with us even when we take out the trash. So it comes as no surprise that while driving we keep them close.
When I was a new mom, my pediatrician was my trusted source of information. One tip she gave me, and I did my best to follow at all times was this:
“If your child is crying while you are driving, do not turn your head back to check on him. Keep on driving. When you reach a safe place to stop ,then turn around and check.“
As long as the baby is crying, she said, they are still breathing, anything else can wait. Maybe they lost their pacifier, maybe they need a change of diaper — for sure those things can wait. Fast forward to teens years and teens driving, the “baby” is their “phone” — this rule still applies.
When we are behind the wheels, we should focus on the road so we can reach our destination safely. We do not want to risk anyone’s safety, and not pay attention to the road by turning our attention to our phone.
The CDC reports that each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes related to distracted driving, mostly distracted by the phone. In 2015, 42% of high school driving students reported sending a text while driving. I am sure this number is much higher today. Interestingly our teens have a pretty good idea how dangerous texting while driving is. In fact, according to a survey by AT&T, 97 percent of them said they agree that it is dangerous.
So why do they still do it? FOMO — Fear of missing out, the feeling of “I cannot stand not knowing what my friends are doing”. Adding to that the tremendous effort app design companies go through to keep us engaged and pull us back to check our phones (fueling the potential screen addiction).
When we text or on our phones while driving, three separate physical and mental actions are taking place, and take attention away from the road & potential driving hazards.
In the United States, at least 43 states have passed laws to prohibit drivers from texting. The Federal Government also took several important steps to address potential distracted driving problems. But we can’t rely on others to keep our kids safe, in this case the government, we need to proactively do something.
We all know the answer, and that is to put our phones away while behind the wheel.
Start with speaking with your teen about the responsibilities that come with their driver license, and use existing tools to avoid temptation.
Be safe on the road. Do not text and drive!
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com