A recent survey finds that 80 percent of drivers in Canada admit to driving distracted. A disproportionate number of them are under the age of 20. Even the CDC has weighed in, noting that across the world teenagers drive distracted more than any other age category. Simply put, distracted driving is the leading cause of teenage-caused motor vehicle accidents (MVAs). As a parent it’s a primary concern. Every time they take the keys, your protective mechanisms kick in. While we have provided a guide to safe driving tips for your teen, you’re wondering if there is anything else to be done. Once again Park Insurance is here to help – let’s review!
3 Direct Steps to Reducing Your Teenager’s Risk of Driving Distracted
Fight Tech with Tech
Digital technology in the form of the smartphone is the leading cause of teenage distracted driving. Texts, calls, and push notifications regarding social media updates take their eyes, ears, and minds off of the road. While you can install apps and employ settings to ensure that they don’t receive alerts while driving, this isn’t the tech we’re referencing in the heading above. Instead, we’re alluding to a new app from ICBC.
The ICBC Street Sense app immerses young drivers in on-the-road scenarios that mimic real driving conditions in B.C. When using the app, teens will become accustomed to scanning for and avoiding hazards in a safe and controlled environment. The goal is to form safe driving muscle memory (so to speak) for your teenager. Download the Street Sense app (iOs and Android) to their smartphone and tablet through the ICBC portal here.
Back to School
Were you the one to teach your teen to drive? While doing so is a right of passage, it may not have been the best way to prepare your child for the road. You may have some bad habits of your own that you’re not aware of (including distracted driving) that they have picked up on by sharing the front seat with you. Give them a better shot at remaining accident free through life by enrolling them in driving school, even if they’ve already been on the road for a year or more. ICBC has provided a list of recommended driving schools so that you can identify one near you.
“During the teen years, under the influence of massive new hormonal messages, as well as current needs and experiences, the teenager’s brain is being reshaped and reconstructed. Information highways are being sped up (a process called myelination), and some old routes, closed down (this is called pruning); some are re-routed and reconnected to other destinations. And above all, old information highways are making lots of new connections to other highways.” (The Teenager’s Brain, Psychology Today)
Your child has been observing you consciously and subconsciously through life. As mentioned above, they have picked up on your own cues as a driver and applied it to what they do on the road, even if they are not consciously aware of it. For this reason you need to become a better driver yourself, so that their mind can absorb your actions. If you reach for your phone, fiddle with auto-infotainment controls, or take your eyes off of the road to speak to them or other passengers you are setting a poor example. Their adolescent brains are changing at a rapid pace, and you can help form safer behaviors by leading (or driving) by example. Perhaps you can enroll in driving school for a refresher, with them?
Help us put an end to teenage distracted driving by sharing this article with your coworkers, friends, family, and loved ones!
~ Park Insurance ~