Does your teen want a new fancier phone for the holidays? Have they earned it?
Each family is different when it comes to raising their kids and what determines if they get new gadgets or not, however what shouldn't be different is the laws laid down about safe texting.
Especially if your teenager is also a driver, they need to understand the consequences of distracted driving - whether it is putting on make-up, changing the radio station or iPod, or texting while driving - it is never acceptable. When operating a vehicle your 100% attention is needed to be on the road.
Florida Highway Patrol offers these tips you need to share with your teen drivers:
- Make safe driving your first priority. If talking on your cell phone is going to distract you, don't use it while driving. If you are behind the wheel and you get a call, just let it ring! If the caller wants to talk to you, he will leave a message. If you suddenly need to make a call, pull over and stop your car as soon as you can.
- Keep your eyes on the road. If you absolutely must use your cell phone while driving, don't take your eyes off the road - not even for a second! If you have to dial a number, use speed dial if possible. Better yet, wait until you are stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, dial the number quickly, then place your call before pulling back into traffic. If you must answer a call while driving, make sure your phone is where you can easily find it without taking your eyes off the road. You should memorize the feel of the buttons on your phone so that you don't have to look down at it to accept or place a call.
- Be Prepared. If you are expecting calls or know that you will be placing calls while you are behind the wheel, make preparations. Don't take notes or look up numbers while driving. Again, keep your eyes on the road. Use speed dial or keep all numbers handy. If at all possible, install a hands-free device to avoid having to take your hands off the wheel.
- Limit Conversation. A cell phone is useful in emergencies and is definitely convenient. However, it can be abused. Drivers who engage in lengthy or involved conversations are just asking for trouble. It is very hard to concentrate on driving while you are trying to make vacation plans or comfort a friend in the hospital. You should not engage in stressful or emotional conversations that may distract you from your primary task - driving your car!
- Use Common Sense. Know when it is safe to talk on your cell phone. You should not talk on the cell phone during hazardous driving conditions. If road conditions are not safe, traffic is heavy, or weather is severe, don't use your cell phone -- it is simply not worth risking a crash…or your life!