Submitted by Maddison Elizabeth Stinson
Distracting driving is a familiar and dangerous habit that many teens take part in every day. Teens frequently pick up their phones to text or to scroll through their social media feeds to keep up with friends or news. While these activities don’t seem dangerous, they can cause serious accidents on the road when the teen is doing these activities while
behind the wheel.
The leading cause of death in teenagers is the distraction of texting while driving (“Texting and Driving”). Teens can reduce their risk of injury and death when driving by not picking up their phone while driving. When teens pick up their phones while driving, they are causing themselves to become distracted in three ways:
visually, manually, and cognitively (“Texting and Driving”). By becoming visually distracted, teens are looking down at their phones and putting more focus on what is happening on the phone instead of the road. This can cause the teen not to see an upcoming obstacle in the road, shortening reaction time.
When a teen becomes manually distracted, they might use both hands while replying to a text or using social media (“Texting and Driving”). This can cause an even shorter reaction time if the car is moving on its own without proper guidance from the driver. If a teen becomes
cognitively distracted, they might be deep in thought about what is happening on the phone instead of what is happening on the road (“Texting and Driving”).
This can cause a teen to lose their primary focus on the road and put others and themselves in harms way. Each time a driver takes their eyes off the road to glance down at their phones, they are putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. Statistics have shown that around 9 people die each day from those who are distracted behind the
wheel (“Texting and Driving”). It has also been shown that over 1,000 people each day are hurt by the distracted driving habits of others (“Texting and Driving”). Distracted drivers are not providing their full attention to the roads in order to keep themselves and those who are using the roads safe.
While texting and driving is illegal and/or has serious consequences in many states, it does not stop teens or adults from picking up phones while driving. In the total number of car crashes in 2014, 26% were because of the use of a cell phone (“Texting and Driving”). To reduce the number of injuries and deaths among teen drivers, there are several things that can be done. One thing that could prevent teen drivers from becoming distracted behind the wheel is to get parents involved. Parents often
set examples, whether good or bad, for their children.
By getting parents involved, they can help set good driving habits for their teens. Parents can also install apps on their children’s phones, blocking them from being able to use a phone (“Texting and Driving”). Teens can make a pledge to themselves to not use their smartphone while driving. Teens can let others know when they will be driving, so they are not tempted to grab their phones if it goes off (“Texting and Driving”).
Teens can silence their phones or put their phones away in a safe place when driving, so they will not be tempted to take a glance at their phones. Teens can also help set a good example by telling other drivers while they are in the car not to text (“Texting and Driving”). This can help keep both themselves and the driver safe. Last, schools can help break the trend in distracted driving by educating more students about it. If more students realized what harm distracted driving can do, there is a possibility that fewer students and teens would take part in this harmful activity. Texting and using social media while driving are dangerous habits for teens. Teens frequently take part in using their phones for text messaging and social media. While these activities don’t seem dangerous, they can be if these activities involve a teen who is behind the wheel.
By taking part in these activities behind the wheel, teens are putting the lives of others and themselves at risk. The leading cause of death for teenagers is distracted driving (“Texting and Driving”). Teens can help stop the trend of driving while distracted by educating themselves on the dangers, getting others involved, and by adopting smart habits like putting their phones away while driving (“Texting and Driving”).
Submitted by Maddison Elizabeth Stinson