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How To Protect Your Teens From Distracted Driving

Female Hispanic teenager smiling to the camera from driver's seat. Female friend texting in passenger's seat. Both wear seatbelts.

Distracted driving sounds somewhat harmless, but it’s a deadly mistake. Anything that distracts you from the road has the potential to cause a serious or even fatal accident. While adult drivers are often distracted by a crying child or changing the radio in the middle of a drive, teen drivers are even more likely to be distracted. Technological advances like smart phones only increase the chances of a distraction at a crucial moment. Find out why collision insurance simply isn’t enough to protect your child and how to teach your teen to keep their focus on the road.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Driving while intoxicated was one of the first altered states to be linked to serious danger, but today we know that driving while drowsy or distracted can be nearly as dangerous. About 3,000 people a year die as a result of distracted driving accidents. Over 300,000 more experience less serious accidents, which nonetheless drive up even your best high risk auto insurance rates. Teens already experience a higher rate of collisions, both serious and minor, so the risk factors tend to add up when you throw texting and friends as passengers into the mix.

Types of Distractions

Cell phones receive a lot of the blame for distracting drivers, but they’re not the only thing to tempt a teen’s eyes away from the road. Other common distractions that teens are particularly receptive to include:

  • Discussions with other passengers in the car, especially other teenagers
  • Emotional states, such as being too excited or upset to pay full attention
  • Daydreaming or anxiously ruminating about a breakup or a test at school
  • Accidents like a slipped drink or a dropped snack
  • Changing the music, especially when using a smart phone connected to the radio rather than the dash mounted controls

Teaching Better Driving Habits

To start, it’s a smart idea to require your teen to shut off their phone entirely every time they climb behind the wheel. You can use simple tracking software to make sure they’re following this rule. Eliminating text alerts that draw their attention away for even one second can prevent a life-threatening accident. Follow up by educating your teen about the other distractions that all drivers face, even experienced adults. Encouraging your child to pull over to eat a snack or get hold of their emotions teaches them a valuable lesson that they can use their entire life. It’s also a good idea to take their keys away and give them a ride yourself if you’re concerned about their mental state. An upset or crying adult will have trouble staying safe on the road, so a teenager with much less driving experience definitely needs assistance at that point. Don’t be afraid to interrupt your child’s schedule or make them unhappy by telling them it’s too risky to drive.

Finding affordable collision insurance for teens can seem downright impossible. Get a fair auto insurance quote for your high-risk driver online or by calling us at 800-777-5620. You can also get a quote at one of our local Freeway offices.

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