Is your teen about to get his or her driver’s license? Or are your teens already out on the road? If so, you know how nerve-wracking it can be to hand over the car keys and let your teen take the wheel. Parents have to worry about teens driving too fast, running red lights and of course, texting and driving.
More than one-third of licensed Ontario students admitted to texting while driving at least once in the last year. Why should parents be concerned about this shocking statistic? Texting and driving is incredibly dangerous—in fact, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drinking and driving. Some experts even predict that texting will become the leading cause of car accident fatalities of young drivers.
Why is it so dangerous? It’s estimated that every text will take your eyes off of the road for a minimum of five seconds. That may not seem like a big deal, but if the car is traveling at 55 mph, that means you’re driving the length of a football field without paying attention to the road. All drivers—but especially new, inexperienced teen drivers—need to pay close attention to the road. So what exactly are teens doing on their phones?
What Apps Are Teens Using?
Besides texting and calling friends or family members, teens are also using apps that make the drive more pleasant. Teens often use navigation apps to find out where they are going, and 71% of them have admitted to using music apps while behind the wheel, too.
Teens also like to check in with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat while they’re driving. Sometimes, they browse to see what their friends are doing, and other times they post updates of their own.
Why Do Teens Text and Drive?
Although teens are aware of the dangers of using a cell phone behind the wheel, many believe they’re in control of the situation, so nothing bad can happen. Teens may feel they are so skilled at texting, that it won’t distract them from the road ahead, so they are not in any danger.
Teens have also been programmed to respond to texts and social media notifications right away. When they hear a beep from their phone, they feel pressured to write back or comment immediately instead of waiting until it is safe to do so. If they don’t read a text or respond right away, teens report feeling anxious and antsy.
It’s no secret that texting and driving is dangerous for all drivers, but especially teens. Luckily, parents can step in and stop their teens from practicing these dangerous behaviors by following these tips:
● Set a good example. When your kids are in the car, never use your cell phone while you are driving. Whether you believe it or not, kids are paying attention to your every move and following your lead—so be a good role model!
● Get an app. There are some apps that can help you prevent your teen from texting while he or she is behind the wheel. Install one of these apps, such as TextLimit or TXT Shield, on your teen’s phone.
● Have a family discussion. Teens may not be aware of the true dangers of texting and driving, so sit down and have a family discussion about it. Watch videos that show the consequences of texting behind the wheel or talk about how not only is it dangerous, but it’s also illegal in most states.
With these tips, you can protect your teen and other drivers on the road!