As parents, there are several important talks you should have with your child when they become a teenager. When they start driving, one of those talks should be about the dangers of distracted driving-specifically, the dangers of texting while behind the wheel.
Why is texting while driving especially dangerous?
There are three main types of distracted driving: visual, manual and cognitive.
Texting is particularly dangerous because it involves all three. A texter takes their eyes off the road, has at least one hand off the wheel and focuses on the text instead of traffic.
So how can you raise a non-texting driver-a teenager who doesn’t follow the trend?
Here are some practical ways to show that texting and driving is not okay:
1: Practice what you preach – Avoid talking on the phone while driving and never text from behind the wheel, even when your car is stopped at a sign or stoplight. The best way to show your teen how to do something-or, in this case-not do something-is to lead by example.
2. Have an ongoing conversation – Talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving. Start the conversation early and keep talking about it as they get older, as research shows that older teens are more likely to text and drive.
3. Establish clear rules – When is it okay and not okay to use a phone in the car?
4. Have your teen call you before leaving a destination instead of calling or texting them when they may be in the car driving home – This eliminates the need to answer or respond to a message from you, which they might deem important-if you’re lucky.
5. Clear up myths – Give your teen the facts and statistics about distracted driving. Show them news stories and studies. Make sure they know that in a hands-free state like Texas, it’s not okay to text when stopped at a stoplight.
6. Closely monitor new drivers – New drivers should not use cellphones at all while driving. As you teach your teen how to drive, go over this policy thoroughly.
Talking to your teen is not enough. Actions speak louder than words. Your teen will remember what you do more than what you say, which is why leading by example is the first item on the list above.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to distracted driving, call Houston law firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner at (713) 222-7211 for a free consultation.