Almost everyone knows it’s dangerous to text and drive. The problem is, almost everyone does it, at least once in a while. The more you text and drive, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident that could hurt or kill you and others. Especially with teen drivers, it’s important to remember and review the dangers of texting and driving.
Texting and Driving Tips
Don’t Attach Yourself to Your Phone
A big reason people text and drive is because they’ve rationalized that the phone is part of their daily routine. They tell themselves they can’t go anywhere without it and that any text message could be vital to their plans. In reality, most text messages can wait to be typed or answered until you’re in a safe location. Even an abbreviated text like “okay” or “TTYL” can distract you long enough to cause an accident. One of the best ways to avoid accidents is to leave your cell phone at home or out of hand’s reach whenever possible. If you can’t leave the phone at home, turn it off while driving. Practice going without your phone by “unplugging” at home and doing non-technological activities at least a few hours a week.
Know the Stories
Texting and driving can do much more than damage your vehicle – it can cause serious injury or death. Many parents and guardians have been brave enough to share stories of family members’ deaths from texting and driving. A great number of the victims of texting and driving are teenagers or young college students. Statistics show that 55% of teenagers admit using their cell phones while driving. Encourage your teen to watch or listen to stories of families who have lost their children to texting and driving, and emphasize that they should focus on the road. Many states, such as Tennessee, have pledges teens and college students can sign which promise they will avoid texting and driving, and encourage their friends to do the same.
Do the Math
Most people rationalize texting and driving because their eyes are only off the road for a few seconds. In reality, it may only take five seconds to read a text – but that’s enough time to cover a football field if you’re driving 55-60 MPH. Remember that the results of an accident also depend heavily on the type of vehicle you drive. Many young people drive smaller cars, which crumple under the weight of large trucks or vans they may broadside while texting and driving. Make a rule that teens turn cell phones off while driving.
Set a good example as a parent for your children and put their safety first when driving. Text messages can wait. It’s a small action, with a big impact. It may even save a life.