How to Talk to Your Daughter About Texting and Driving

By: Matt Herndon.

More than 50 percent of teen drivers admit to using their cellphone while driving. Many of these drivers make or answer calls, while others say they’ve written and sent texts while behind the wheel. And one only need watch the nightly news on occasion to see the disastrous results of this behavior.

Increasing numbers of public service announcements and awareness campaigns about safe driving demonstrate the growing concern about teens who understand the dangers of distracted driving, but choose to ignore them. Although it’s not possible for you to ride along with your daughter every time she goes somewhere, there are other methods and techniques you can use to help her refrain from picking up her cellphone while she’s behind the wheel. Use some or all of these tips to emphasize the importance of avoiding distracted driving practices.

Tips to Curb Texting:

• Set the example you want her to follow. Although your teen daughter may act like she isn’t paying attention to you, she does see what you’re doing and she is watching. One of the best ways to teach her not to text and drive is to never do it yourself. Put your phone away when you get in the car and don’t turn it on again until you arrive at your destination.

• Discuss assigning designated texters. From designated drivers to designated texters, having someone else to step up to the task can save lives. Encourage your daughter to drive with a friend or family member so the passenger can be in charge of cellphone use.

• Tell her to turn off, tune in. When her cellphone is flashing, blinking and beeping each time a text message or phone call comes through, your daughter is bound to be distracted by her phone, even if she doesn’t respond. Teach her to turn the cellphone off and tuck it away in the glove compartment or her purse until she’s finished driving.

• Create consequences. You’re putting a lot of faith in your daughter’s ability to make smart decisions. But if your most recent cellphone bill shows that she’s been texting at times she’s been driving to school, for example, you may need to take away her phone, or enact some other consequence that sends a strong message about the seriousness of her behavior.

How to Help Prevent the Unthinkable:

A fender bender caused by texting and driving taught one New Jersey teen to be more cautious and stop texting while driving. But many teens aren’t lucky enough to walk away from a crash. In 2008, distracted driving was the cause of 16 percent of all fatal crashes.

It’s clearly imperative to talk with your daughter about distracted driving. But, beyond the conversations, it’s important for you to be a role model. Keep the lines of communication open, set guidelines and reinforce them. Parenting a teenage daughter isn’t always easy but it’s your job is to see her safely into her adult years.

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