By Terry Orr
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
The two that scare me are grooming (read make-up) talking on the cell phone while driving and smoking. When I see the last one, I pull over and get out of their way.
Here is some good advice from Washington Accident Books.
Parental influence effects the way teens drive more than anything else so make sure you are setting the right example by following these tips:
- Set clear rules, boundaries and expectations but make sure they are fair and reasonable.
- Safety is the highest priority so make sure your teen understands the rules of the road. Reinforce responsible behavior by introducing new privileges as their skills develop.
- Teens naturally have a need for independence so don’t fight it but instead listen to your them and modify your expectations accordingly to fit their changing circumstances. Reward responsible behavior.
- Let your teen know that they can count on your for support because it is important that they feel like they can rely on you. If necessary, let them use you as a scapegoat to get out of uncomfortable or unsafe situations and still save face in front of their friends.
- Keep the lines of communication open to help teens make good safety decisions. Make sure you know where they are going and why, and discuss how they will get there and when they will be home. Provide alternatives to allow them to avoid unsafe driving situations and make yourself available if they should need a ride.
- Even though they’d deny it, teens are greatly influenced by their parents so it is your job to lead by example. Follow the rules of the road. Don’t speed, always wear a seat belt and don’t talk or text on your cell phone while driving.
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