Are you a parent in Tampa, Florida, wondering how to keep your teen safe on the road?
You’ve probably given them a little talk with a few pointers, and maybe they’ve already got the keys to their own set of wheels. Have you considered the dangers of distracted driving?
You may think that your teen is responsible enough to know better. But, temptations are rife when you’re alone in the driver’s seat. Eight people are killed every day in the US in a crash that involves a distracted driver.
Distracted driving statistics show that teen drivers aged 15-19 were more likely to have been distracted than older drivers in fatal car crashes.
If you want to encourage your teen driver to stay alert, with their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, you need to follow our guide. We’ll let you know the types of distracted driving. And let you know how you can help your teen eliminate them. Read on!
What Is Distracted Driving?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that at 55mph, reading a text message is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded. According to the CDC, distracted driving includes anything that diverts attention from operating the car and assessing hazards.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that almost 3,000 lives were lost in 2018 as a result of this dangerous behavior. When we think of a distracted teen driver, we might picture them looking at their phone. But, there are numerous less-obvious examples.
Talking to passengers is enough to cause a teen driver to have an accident. Since they are new to the road and the unique challenges of everyday traffic. When granted a driver’s license, it’s common for teenagers to feel overly confident and that they know everything they should.
Experienced drivers know that much of your learning begins when you are alone in the car for the first time. Your undivided attention is even more crucial in those early days when roads are unfamiliar. You have to think fast to respond to the actions of other vehicles.
Types of Distracted Driving
The CDC identifies three main types of distractions, which are visual, manual, and cognitive. This boils down to taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or letting your mind drift from the task of driving the car.
Anything that is not essential for operating the vehicle safely in traffic should be done with the car pulled over and stationary. This includes eating, drinking, daydreaming, and especially operating the car’s infotainment system.
Your teen’s phone needs to be placed in driving mode, and they should develop good habits regarding technology in the car. Music playlists should only be configured in advance of the journey. They should never drive when feeling sleepy and certainly not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
While GPS directions may be necessary to get from A to B. These should be programmed before setting off in the car. If they miss a turn or suddenly need to change directions, this needs to be done safely at the side of the road. Driving a vehicle already involves a great deal of multitasking, and any diversion is to the detriment of safety.
How Can You Help Your Teen Driver?
You need to be a good role model for your teen driver. Because they will pick up any bad habits that you have acquired over the years. Imagine that there’s a camera in the car monitoring your driving at all times. Always practice defensive driving, avoid road rage, and be courteous to other vehicles on the road.
State driving rules and laws do change. So it’s a good idea to revisit the state drivers handbook while your teen is studying it. This way, you can ensure that all advice you give is currently applicable.
It’s a good idea to be in the car with them for the initial journeys after they get their license. Or sign them up for an advanced driving course. Certain programs like this may even lower their car insurance. Be aware that they may not have much experience in certain weather conditions. Like winter or highway driving, so help them learn.
Florida has both distracted driving laws and traffic laws for teens, including curfews late at night for 16 and 17-year-old drivers. The Wireless Communications While Driving Law has been in effect since 2019 and requires drivers to not operate a phone while driving.
Consider drawing up a driver agreement/contract that your teen must abide by, based on these laws and other common-sense requirements.
Eliminate Distractions While Driving
Look through the car owner’s manual, as there are many modern safety systems in a car that can help avoid collisions. Turning on these systems, such as those that calculate the distance between your teen and the car in front, will help develop good habits.
The computers in some vehicles can even give driver feedback and analyze driving. Some apps can run on a phone and interface with certain vehicles via a physical port or Bluetooth. Take advantage of these if available. A teen may be more willing to listen to this hard data, known as automotive telematics, concerning their speed, acceleration, and braking habits.
Despite your best efforts to educate your teen driver, driving is inherently risky. The actions of other drivers are often unpredictable and erratic, and if the worst happens, make sure you have a reputable accident lawyer in Tampa.
We’ve shown that distracted driving habits are avoidable and can reduce a teen driver’s risk of having an auto accident. Don’t let all the digital noise in your teen’s world rob them of the privilege of a driver’s license.
If you’re the parent of a teen driver who was involved in a car accident, we can help. We are personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL, and we process claims that require a car accident lawyer. We provide sound legal counsel and help victims receive the compensation that they deserve.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.