10 Rules to Help Keep Your Teen Driver Safe


Turn Off and Stow All Electronic Devices

Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers. ©iStock/Thinkstock
Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers. ©iStock/Thinkstock

"At this time, please turn off and stow all electronic devices." That infamous flight safety announcement will help keep you safe on the roads.

American teens send a lot of text messages; 63 percent of them text, and they send between 50 and 100 messages every day [source: Lenhart]. And almost half of high school students admit to texting (or e-mailing) while behind the wheel [source: NCIPC].

Any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving, you're a distracted driver. A ringing cell phone, an incoming text message, your satellite-linked navigation system and information display -- even the french fries in the bag of fast food sitting on the passenger seat -- are all examples of driver distractions. And a distracted driver is a dangerous driver. In 2010, about one in every five car accidents that left someone injured involved a distracted driver, and the highest proportion of fatal crashes involved distracted drivers under the age of 20 [source: CDC NCIPC]. Insist your teen driver -- and this applies to drivers of any age, too -- power down all electronic devices before starting up the engine.

Author's Note: 10 Rules to Keep Your Teen Driver Safe

What I remember most about driving during my teen years are two things: those bloody videos of car crashes (you know, the ones where they focus more on shocking you with gore than educating about safe driving techniques), and the much more pleasant memory of spending six months as my father's chauffeur while I drove supervised with my learner's permit.

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