For teens, getting a driver’s license and the keys to the car for the first time can be an exhilarating experience. Many teens see the ability to drive solo as an important rite of passage. Parents may also see driving as an important milestone for their teen, but it’s often a frightening one as well. It’s well known that inexperienced teen drivers are more likely to have accidents than most other groups of drivers.
There are a number of reasons why teen drivers may be more accident prone, but today’s teens have distractions that most previous generations of teens did not – their cell phones. Texting, IM-ing, or web surfing while driving can be dangerous, especially for teens. Take a look at some of the ways that you can protect your teen from the dangers of distracted driving.
Teach Your Teen to Prevent Distractions
Before you hand over the keys, teach your teen safe smartphone habits that will keep them off the phone while driving.
Ideally, you don’t want your teen to ever get in the habit of using their phone while they’re driving. This can be difficult because, by the time your teen is old enough to learn to drive, the chances are good that they’re already in the habit of using their phone during other activities.
However, learning to drive involves learning new habits. When you teach your teen how to drive, you’ll probably teach them to put their seatbelt on and check the mirrors before turning the car on, for example. You can add good phone habits to the list as well. You might consider teaching your teen to put their phone in the back seat or the trunk before starting the car, for instance, so they can’t easily reach it while driving. If you can ingrain this habit in your teen before they begin driving solo, it’s more likely to stick.
Monitor Your Teen’s Activity
Just because your teen is driving alone doesn’t mean that you can’t keep tabs on their activity.
You can and should lay down the law when it comes to texting and driving. But once your teen is driving alone, they may feel that they can push the boundaries. It’s important for you to have a way to keep tabs on your teen’s driving and smartphone habits to ensure that they stay safe.
Parental monitoring software is one way to do this. With parental monitoring software installed on your child’s phone, you’ll be able to track them by GPS, and you’ll also be able to see records of your teen’s call history and their text, IM, and app usage, along with time stamps. This information can let you know whether your teen has been using their phone while driving.
Lean on the Law
In many locations, texting while driving isn’t just dangerous, it’s also against the law. Make sure that your teen is aware that they can be ticketed for using their phone while driving, resulting in fines and points on their license.
You can use the local laws to bolster your own rules about texting and driving. Let your teen know that if they’re caught using their phone while driving, they will have to pay their own fines and that they may face additional consequences at home, like restrictions on their driving privileges.
Parental monitoring software is one of several tools that can help you keep your teen safer as they gain more autonomy and responsibility. To find out more about how parental monitoring software can help you, get our free trial.