The first year of licensed driving is the most exciting and dangerous year of your teen's life. But the facts are hard to hear. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens. In 2015, the year of the most recent data, there were 3,327 teen motor vehicle deaths.
As parents, we want to keep our teen drivers safe—and we can, if we understand the risks they face. By staying involved during that crucial first year of driving, we can help our teens beat the odds and avoid one of the biggest risks to their lives when behind the wheel; distraction.
From texting and talking on the phone to adjusting the radio or GPS, distractions are everywhere when we’re driving but they don’t all revolve around technology.
Consider, for example, rubbernecking. This is an old term for when a driver turns his or her head away from the road to stare at something in a foolish manner. The most common sights of rubbernecking include:
- Interesting signs or billboards
- Events on the side of the road—including car crashes
- Beautiful scenery
These distractions can cause a driver to crash since they take the driver’s focus away from the road but you can help your teen avoid this risk by avoiding rubbernecking yourself. Remember that your behavior sets the example for your teen, so when you are driving together and you pass an accident, point out the importance of keeping your eyes on the road.
The sooner your teen learns the danger of rubbernecking, the more focused – and safer – they’ll be.