If there’s one thing every teen looks forward to (aside from prom, graduation and college) it’s turning sixteen. Aside from preparing a sweet sixteen birthday bash, it means finally being able to drive. Some are even fortunate enough to be gifted with a car on the day itself. Driving is a big responsibility and the shift from being a passenger to a driver is one that takes a bit of adjusting. It’s even harder now, thanks to technological advancements.
We’ve all been through this stage too, minus the iPhones and automatic transmission. Technology and driving are more interactive, yet deadlier than ever. As distracting as technology can be, it also has more advantageous purposes.
If paired with self-control, distraction-free driving is possible.
Speeding through the Stats
The number one cause of death among teens in the United States is motor vehicle crashes, with texting and driving as one of the triggers.
It was reported by the Center for Disease Control (2014) that 2,270 teens aged 16-19 were killed in crashes. That’s 6 teenagers per day and they account for more auto accidents than any other age group, with their fatalities being four times that of drivers aged 25 and up.
Reportedly, nine out of 10 teens admit that using their cell phones while driving is “normal”. Normal is acceptable, obsession, on the other hand, is dangerous.
First off, remind them that driving should be taken seriously – but not Fast and Furious serious.
It is said that learners have to have completed an average of 45 hours of driving lessons, and about 20 practicing privately. The great debate revolves around whether or not this is mandatory. If we can take classes online for academic purposes, actual driving shouldn’t be any different, right?
While some are more comfortable being taught by family members or parents, it can be made more formal (rather than just bickering at each other) with the help of the Road Ready app. While in the passenger’s seat, parents can use it to enter data about driving conditions, duration, mileage and progress.
Don’t let the stress of choosing the right car overweigh their driving dreams.
Parents always reason out that “It’s going to get scratched, anyways,” when you’re out canvassing for a potential “first” second-hand car. Whether you get your children a brand new or second-hand model as their first car is entirely up to you. Not all of us have the same level of financial stability.
It is already a given that your car insurance companies such as Geico, AAA, State Farm and All State have their own respective apps. Use them to your advantage.
There are free apps that promote less use of phones when driving, like AT&T’s Drive Mode that automatically silences any incoming calls, texts or alerts while you’re on the road. Anyone trying to contact you will automatically be notified that you are driving. Talk about impending temptation. The Life Saver app also serves the same purpose.
Teach them how to avoid being responsible for the road accidents happening during their trips. Should your kids have to drive under the influence of alcohol, remind them to be open about how they’re getting home and to constantly send you updates? If there are no designated drivers or taxis available, AAA offers “Tipsy Tow” for a safe ride home.
What’s more, explain the perks of being a safe driver. Whether it’s a good driver discount through their insurance company or rewards you put in place at home, teach them safe driving pays off.
Teens with a new license will do anything to grab the car keys and drive everywhere – even if it means just buying something from the grocery store… three blocks away. Giving them freedom in terms of driving doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll leave their nest and never come back. As a matter of fact, those who have total control over where they go, often choose to come home.
It is possible to make this monumental day a pleasant one, instead of filling it with worry and overprotection. Believe it or not, parents get just as emotional as their children when it’s time to officially get behind the wheel.
Smartphones are becoming an important part of our lives, and clever apps like these are proof that they’re valuable tools. They can literally save our lives or take it away from us. However, we should not rely completely on technology. Our first line of defense on the road will always be our acquired skills, not the application ratings.