TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2023
As the parent of a new teen driver, there’s plenty to worry about.
You might question your teen’s skills behind the wheel. Or you’re concerned they’ll become distracted by a cellphone, other passengers or trying to eat while on the road.
Rather than simply hoping (or fretting) that your teens reach their destinations safely, you can begin the conversation now by teaching them about common distractions(link is external) — and how unsafe behaviors can lead to a crash.
The Pediatric Trauma Program at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has ideas to help.
Consider these “S-M-A-R-T” tips for preventing distracted driving:
Teens and safe driving: the S-M-A-R-T method
[S]tay focused on driving
Keep your eyes on the road
Scan surroundings for hazards
Keep both hands on the wheel
Check for blind spots
[M]ake preparations before you begin
Secure children and pets
Find your sunglasses
Store loose items
Set the stereo, navigation tools and climate controls
Complete personal grooming or adjust clothing
Fasten your seat belt
[A]void all other activities
Don’t use your phone
Wait until the vehicle is stopped before:
Looking for loose items
Changing vehicle controls (air conditioner, mirrors, etc.)
Searching for music or changing the radio
Consuming food or drink
Reading a map or adjusting a GPS
[R]ely on passengers
To make phone calls or texts
To navigate your route
To secure pets or help children
To look for things in the vehicle
To adjust radio or climate controls
[T]ext or talk later — leave your phone alone!
Create a calm environment inside the vehicle
Ask friends and family not to contact you when they know you’ll be on the road
Let others know that you don’t talk on the phone or text while driving
Return the favor: Don’t call or text other drivers
Other ways to help
Families can request a teen driving kit from Mott’s Drive Smart(link is external) website. The kit includes a free “cell keeper” bag to hold your teen’s phone while he or she drives.
The campaign offers a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement(link is external) for young drivers and their parents to keep each other accountable for maintaining good habits.
There’s also Distractions Avenue(link is external), a simulation game to see how quickly you and your teen can choose to avoid distractions and arrive safely at your destination.
Most important, model safe driving behaviors yourself so your teens learn by example.
Posted 12:40 PM