Distracted Driving Awareness: Empowering Homeschooled Teens and Their Parents

As a homeschooling parent, you must teach your kids about the subjects in their books as well as street smarts and how to make it once they go out on their own. When they reach the age when they want to get behind the wheel, one of the most essential lessons to teach is to focus on the road and never drive while distracted. You can do this by leading by example and showing them how to properly behave when behind the wheel. Here are some facts and lessons that can help you along the way.

Teach Kids Statistics and Laws

When it comes time to teach driver’s education, you must start by researching the road rules and distracted driving. Begin with the definition of distracted driving — you are committing it any time your full attention is not on the road, or you fail to properly control the automobile. Your kids must do everything possible to avoid looking away from the road because even a few seconds could be fatal.

Distracted driving can take several forms. One of the most common is when drivers look away from the road to text or change the radio. It can also be when your teen takes their hands off the wheel to reach for something elsewhere in the car and loses control. There can also be cases when several other people in the vehicle are loud or active so that your teen doesn’t have all of their concentration on the road.

You must focus on the value of distracted driving awareness, especially since statistics show that your kid could be in danger if they’re not careful. Data shows that teens aged 15-19 are more likely to be distracted than drivers 20 years or older, so you must be vigilant.

As parents, you must also be aware of the laws surrounding distracted driving and impart this knowledge to your kids. Otherwise, they’ll not only put themselves in danger but could encounter legal trouble and potentially lose their licenses. Texting and driving is banned in 48 states, and cell phone use while driving, in general, is banned in 37 states for all people who’ve only driven for a year or less, even if the phone is in hands-free mode. Review the laws in your particular state so you can educate your child. Even if a law isn’t technically on the books, you should still make it a household rule that they don’t drive distracted.

Educate On How to Avoid Distracted Driving

It will become harder and harder for people to avoid distracted driving, especially when tech continues to become so common in our lives, but there are always things you and your kids can do to ensure your concentration on the road.

Start with lessons about texting while driving. No matter how good the kids think they are at texting, it still takes concentration. In the time it takes to type out a few letters, your young driver could get into a crash and hurt themselves or their passenger or cause damage to the vehicle. Teach your kids to avoid texting on the road by having them tell the person they’re visiting that they’re leaving and then not to text again until they arrive. If your teen is so obsessed with texting that you don’t think they’ll stop, you can also install text-blocking cell phone apps like DriveMode that disable texting functions when the car is in motion.

Many teens fall into that trap of piling several friends into the vehicle at once, which can be extremely distracting, especially when music is playing and everyone is talking simultaneously. You can eliminate the possibility of this type of distracted driving by making a rule for how many people they can have in the car when they’re behind the wheel.

Distracted driving can also occur when your teen takes their eyes and hands off the wheel to do a seemingly simple task like changing the radio station or clicking a button on the GPS. Teach your kids to avoid distractions like these by instructing them to choose a radio station they like and stick to it and to plot their journey on the GPS before they leave. If they need to do something like that in the car, teach them to pull over, stop the vehicle, and avoid danger.

Give Them Tools for Success

There are various other ways to teach your teens to be responsible behind the wheel, including with many physical tools.

Once your youngster starts driving, you can give them special gifts to keep them safe. Instead of buying fuzzy dice to hang from the rearview mirror, buy them a dashcam they can mount on the dashboard to record the road ahead. With it, they can watch the footage later to see how they’re performing behind the wheel. Dashcams can also be useful in the case of an accident, and they can use the footage for the insurance company.

Even if your teens are paying attention to the road ahead, there’s always the chance to run over debris or get a flat tire. Prepare for these potential scenarios by gifting them with roadside assistance apps that instantly request emergency assistance and GPS apps that announce their location so emergency services can easily find them.

Since homeschooled teens will likely be in the car with you more often during the day, the other invaluable tool you can provide them to avoid distracted driving is to lead by example. When taking them on errands or to their extracurricular activities, follow your rules regarding distracted driving. Don’t talk on the phone or take your eyes off the road; if you need to make a call, show them how you stop and park the vehicle before doing so.

As the parent of a homeschooled teen, you must teach them the right behaviors both at home and on the road, and a big part of that is teaching the dangers of distracted driving. Show them how to be responsible behind the wheel, and they’ll enjoy their independence much more.

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