Talk to your teen about the various types of distracted driving

You know that driving is a risky behavior. You’ve seen it. The car that speeds up and slows down. The one that swerves in and out of the lane. The one that follows too closely behind you. It’s why you worry about your teenager who is now behind the wheel alone.

Many of the behaviors mentioned above are caused by distracted driving. While the focus is generally on cellphones and texting, there are so many other ways to get distracted behind the wheel. Does your teen understand the risks and the various ways they could get distracted behind the wheel?

Many distractions have dangerous consequences

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) over 3,400 people died in a distracted driving accident in 2016. That means, nine people die every day in the United States because of distracted driving.

Unfortunately, there are several types of distractions, not just cellphones.

Distractions include:

  1. Manual distraction: This type of distraction is when you take your hands off the wheel for any purpose. Your teen could be changing the radio station, eating some Taco Bell or much more.
  2. Cognitive distraction: This type of distraction refers to your mental state when you are driving. Are you focused on driving or do you have other things on your mind? You could be focusing on anything else. If your teen is having a tough time with school, sports or friends, it can take their mind off the road.
  3. Visual distraction: This type of distraction is for anyone who may be distracted by a cell phone or electronic device. They focus on anything except on driving.

As a parent, there is nothing you won’t do to avoid having your teen become one of these distracted driving statistics. Take time to sit down with your teen driver. Talk about the dangers. Talk about how your teen can avoid them.

You can also set rules for your teen such as making them put their cellphone in the trunk while driving, downloading an app that blocks incoming texts or limiting the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle.

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