Distracted Driving and Distracted Walking: A Bad Combination

Distracted Driving and Distracted Walking: A Bad Combination

If you’re the parent of a teen who has a driver’s license and car keys, or if you will be soon, you’ve probably thought about the dangers of distracted driving. Texting behind the wheel is dangerous for any driver, but it may be particularly dangerous for teens who already have limited driving experience. And if your teen is still a pedestrian, there’s still reason to worry. Distracted walking may not be as potentially dangerous to others as distracted driving can be, but teens who text or look at their phones while walking may be putting themselves in danger. Teens who are distracted by their phones while walking are less aware of their surroundings and are at risk of injury from cars or obstacles along their path. Take a look at what parents should do to help keep their teens safe, whether they’re walking or driving.

Distracted Driving and Distracted Walking: A Bad Combination
Texting while driving is responsible for a rising number of car accidents, especially among teen drivers

Communicate

The first thing you should do is make sure to talk to your teen about the dangers of using their smartphone while driving or walking. Smartphone use is second-nature to teens – many reach for their phones as soon as they wake up in the morning. Even if they know it’s dangerous, it may not occur to them not to walk while looking at their phone, or not to reach for their phone if they hear a notification while driving.

Talking to your teen increases their awareness, and more awareness of the potential dangers of using their phone while walking or driving will help them make more conscious decisions about their smartphone use, rather than just reaching for their phone out of habit.

Strategize

Distracted Driving and Distracted Walking: A Bad Combination
When your teen is looking at their phone while walking, they’re not paying attention to their surroundings.

Simply not using the phone while walking or driving may sound easy to you – or it may not. Either way, it’s important to acknowledge that smartphone use has become a part of many daily activities, and whether or not you understand it, your teen may have some difficulty putting the phone away when walking or driving. It helps to plan strategies that your teen can use to reduce the temptation to use the phone when it’s unsafe to do so.

There are several options that can help. For example, your teen could get in the habit of putting their phone in the backseat or the trunk of the car when driving, so that they can’t reach it even if they hear a notification. While walking, your teen could put the phone in a pocket of their backpack or purse – somewhere out of their hands or pockets. Turning the sound off or turning airplane mode on can also help – this eliminates the notification sounds that may prompt your teen to turn their attention to their phone. For drivers, there are also apps that can detect when the phone is in a moving car and block the ability to use the phone until the car comes to a stop.

Monitor

As the parent of a teenager, you know that your teenager will sometimes make poor decisions or decisions that you disagree with. There are times when it’s best to let your teen learn a lesson from the consequences of their own actions, but not when their safety is on the line. It’s important to keep an eye on your teen’s phone usage so that you can ensure that they’re using it appropriately and safely.

Parental monitoring software can give you the ability to monitor the times and place where your teen is using their phone, so you have an idea whether they’re texting during their drive to school or walk home. That way, you can take the steps necessary to enforce your family’s phone safety rules and potentially prevent a dangerous accident.

To find out more about how parental monitoring software works, get our free trial.

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