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Teen Health and Safety

Using Technology Can Help Keep Your Teen Driver Safe

Photo: Courtesy of Andras Vas

Often, technology is discouraged behind the wheel, and for good reason: texting and even hands-free calls pose major distractions to drivers of all ages. But when technology is used appropriately, it can be a strong partner to parents in keeping their teens safe. The key is using the right technologies in the right ways.

Here are 3 ways you can use technology to help protect your teen driver on the road:

1. Use technology-blocking apps to reduce distractions

Cell phones are a huge source of distraction in the car, but they don’t have to be. Parents can use apps or change a phone’s settings to disable calls and texts while the car is in motion, thus avoiding the risk of distraction. Do this for your own phone when you drive as well to set a good example and show your teen that even experienced drivers should avoid distractions.

2. Set limits with monitoring systems

Similarly, parents can use in-vehicle tools to set limits or rules on the car’s speed, radio volume and seatbelt use. With some systems, you can even set distance boundaries for the car and get alerts if your teen exceeds them. These tools may raise questions with your teen, as they could give your teen the idea that you don’t trust them. So, be upfront and open about why you want to use these tools and communicate to your teen that it is about their safety, not about spying on them.

3. Increase safety with advanced features

Modern vehicles are equipped with a full suite of advanced safety features, such as back-up cameras and automatic emergency braking, which can help prevent crashes. Take some time to understand these technologies and work them into your teen’s driving lessons, but stress that your teen must not rely on them to stay safe. These systems are meant to assist the driver, not replace them. Review the vehicle’s manual with your teen so you both know which features are available and when they should be used.

In conclusion, the best options for you and your teen driver could be a combination of these tools, but the most important part is setting a good example yourself. If your teen sees you taking calls behind the wheel, he or she won’t understand why these rules don’t apply to you. But if you make the effort to only use technology in the car safely, your teen driver is much more likely to do the same.

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