Did You See that Stop Sign? Distracted Driving Teenagers

Distracted Driving Teenagers Tips

textingwhiledrivingDue to your limited driving education, training and experience you can’t afford to get caught up with distractions in or outside your vehicles.  However, as a teenager, the biggest problem will be realizing the importance of that statement because quite frankly, if you think you can safely drive and text or talk on the phone, you’re already distracted.  If you think you can safely drive without taking the time to put your seat belt on, you’re distracted.  If you think you can drive safely simply because you’ve done it to this point, you know where the brake and gas pedals are and you can steer in a straight line, you’re already distracted.  Distracted from the truth about the dangers and risks you face.

What does distracted from the truth mean?  You as a teenager at some point in your life found yourself in trouble with mom and dad or a teacher at school because you failed to do what you were asked (or told) you had to do.  Why didn’t you simply complete the task?  Maybe you forgot or perhaps you didn’t think you’d really be in trouble.  Perhaps you didn’t think the consequences would actually be implemented.  Or, maybe you just thought it didn’t matter, it was no big deal and you never even planned on completing the task.

The point is, it was a big deal, there was a consequence and it took that experience to teach you the importance of doing what you are asked.  Sadly, when it comes to driving, the consequences can be much harsher and in fact, life threatening.  But unless you are willing to take driving seriously, you will continue putting your life in harm’s way and never realize the full potential of the dangers you face.  You are distracted by your invincible nature, your self-justification that it “won’t happen to me” and you’re predisposed to thinking that even if it did happen, the consequences would be minimal.

The truth is a high percentage of teen vehicle fatalities result from teens who fail to buckle their seat belt and are ejected from their vehicle, teens who lose control and over-correct because they lack proper vehicle control skills and teens who are driving too fast for conditions.   So here’s my challenge to teen drivers.

Before you start the engine in your vehicle;

  • Clear you mind of everything that you’re planning to do once you reach your destination.
  • Prepare yourself for safety by setting your mirrors, seats and buckling your seat belt.
  • Set a GOAL to arrive alive and drive with your full attention and focus on achieving that goal.
  • Put your phone out of reach and ignore it until you reach your destination.
  • Consciously face the fact that driving is the number one cause of death for teenagers.
  • Take your driving seriously!!

It is time we all change the way we think about driving.  The person who thinks they can text and drive is the person who believes it can’t happen to them.  Let’s be honest with ourselves, it can (and does) happen (crashes, injuries, loss of life) and most of you if you’re honest, already know someone else that it happened too.

I encourage all of you to face the truth head-on.

Change the way you think, set a goal to arrive alive and drive like your very life depended on it because it does.

Distractions will literally kill you.

The NHTSA Website www.distraction.gov identifies three types of distracted driving.

  1. visual, taking your eyes off of the road
  2. manual, taking your hands off of the wheel
  3. mental, letting your mind wander
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Which of the three is the most prevalent — or the most dangerous — is largely a matter of opinion, but they’re all risky. A moving car with a distracted driver is basically a missile aimed at pretty much anything.

In a 2006 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 80% of all collisions were blamed on drivers engaged in distracting activities. The study determined that the most common distraction for drivers was using a cell phone while driving, and the number of crashes while dialing a number was roughly equivalent with the number of crashes while the driver was talking or listening.

Various distracting activities increase your likelihood of being involved in crash.

Talking or listening on a hand-held device 1.3 times more likely
Dialing a hand-held device 3 times more likely
Applying makeup or grooming 3 times more likely
Reading 3 times more likely
Looking at something outside the car 3.7 times more likely
Reaching for a dropped or moving object 9 times more likely
NHTSA, “The Impact of Driver Inattention on Near-Crash/Crash Risk” 2006.

Learn more about distracted driving parents

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