We know what you’re thinking. The idea of talking to your son or daughter about distracted driving probably has you rolling your eyes — and your teen responding in kind. We get it. It can seem like it’s a conversation that will fall on deaf ears, but like any important discussion you have with your kids, it resonates more than you know.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2014, an estimated 123,000 teens (15 to 19 years old) were injured in crashes that resulted in 2,679 deaths. The best thing you can do to protect your kids is to talk to them. And only you can model how to be safe and confident.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
Instead of presenting a long lecture about what your teen shouldn’t do, start with the positives. Here’s what you and they should do:
Communicate. Discouraging your child from traveling without a phone isn’t a great idea. Emergencies happen, and it’s important that your teenager can get ahold of you. But don’t get angry if they don’t respond to a text or a call right away. CBS News recently pointed out that many distracted teen drivers are actually responding to their parents’ insistent texts.
Be honest. Forty-one percent of teens say their parents model unsafe behavior while driving. Sometimes copping to your own blunders behind the wheel can help your teen understand that you make mistakes just like everyone else.
Get educated. Your teen should be aware of the consequences of distracted driving. Together, watch videos about how being compromised while driving can lead to really serious consequences. And consider attending a Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) event. Not only will you be taking a proactive stance, you can help make a difference alongside your child.
A FIGHT WORTH HAVING
Sometimes as a parent, you have to put your foot down. Once you’ve got the “shoulds” in place, you still have to take a look at the “shouldn’ts” — and then stick to them.
Booze? You lose. This is one rule no one should bend on. Be kind but firm when discussing alcohol and drug use with your teen, especially when it comes to operating a vehicle. Make sure they know they can call you — without judgment or punishment — if they’re faced with a situation that could result in a DUI or deadly crash. And encourage your child and their friends to take a pledge not to ride with someone who’s under the influence.
Follies aren’t funny. Showing off while driving (drag racing, blowing through stoplights and signs) can come at a much higher price than just a speeding ticket. Don’t hesitate to revoke driving privileges if your teen is in an at-fault accident or is caught behaving badly at the wheel.
Just say no to multitasking. This is your chance to lead by example: Don’t apply makeup, text, operate a GPS, or snack behind the wheel, even at stoplights. Show your teen that it can wait.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The future doesn’t always keep its promises. Fortunately, we do. Should the road ahead be unpredictable, you and your teen can trust that your auto insurance will be there — today and well into the future. Trust in Tomorrow.™ Contact your local agent today at Pardridge Insurance – 815-758-4447. Also, ask about teen driven discounts, like our Good Student Discount.