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Parents must show teens how to avoid distracted driving

Parents have a very important job to do when teaching teens how to drive, though many of them do not realize just how crucial it is. That job is simply to set a good example. This is perhaps most important when considering distracted driving, which is something of a growing epidemic.

Teens can hear that distracted driving is dangerous many times. They can read the statistics. They can have instructors tell them not to do it in drivers' ed. However, where they really pick up their habits is from their parents. They learn from the example that their parents set.

Here are seven things parents should do before pulling out of the driveway, to make sure they do not do them on the road:

  1. Check everyone's seat belts
  2. Read and respond to any voicemails or text messages
  3. Finish eating a snack or drinking; even nonalcohol drinks are a dangerous distraction
  4. Program the GPS and double-check the route
  5. Set the temperature in the car and pick the music
  6. Finish any personal grooming or makeup application
  7. Take a moment to consider their emotional state and their state of mind to make sure they're prepared to drive

If teens see their parents drive while they're distracted by food, phones, emotions or anything else, they will assume it is fine to follow that example. They'll do it even if their parents tell them explicitly not to. They learn from what their parents do more than what their parents say.

When parents do not set a good example, it leads to dangerous behavior and accidents. It is important for those who suffer injuries to know what legal options they have.

Source: DMV.org, "Parents & Distracted Driving," accessed June 14, 2018

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