We hope by now that every licensed driver knows that they should avoid distraction while behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, we also know that not every driver heeds the warnings about the dangers of distracted driving. Dozens of parents in New Hampshire were horrified to learn that their children’s school bus crashed into a tree when the driver was distracted by the popular app, Kik. Even with her own daughter on the bus, the driver felt it was acceptable to check her phone while she held the lives of many children in her hands. Several children sustained injuries, with one even suffering a broken jaw.
So, how do we equip our children who are passengers to protect themselves from distracted drivers?
- Set a good example- Disable your phone and/or put it out of arm’s reach when driving
- Pull over- If you must call or text behind the wheel
- Empower your children- Give them permission to correct you or another driver if they see someone engaging in distracted driving
- Don’t be afraid- Speak up if you are a passenger in a vehicle with a distracted driver
- Remember- Distraction comes in many forms- not just cell phones.
Teach your children:
- That it is NEVER safe to engage in distracted driving. This includes looking at a phone, putting on makeup, reaching for a dropped item, or eating while driving.
- That they have permission to politely request that the driver of a vehicle put away their distraction. It’s okay to tell someone that you are scared because of the way they’re driving.
- To ask a distracted driver if they can assist them by sending a text for them, picking up their dropped item, etc.
- That they can always call you if they feel they are in a car with an unsafe driver.
- To report to you immediately if they feel that their bus driver or other employed driver is being unsafe behind the wheel
Keeping our children safe involves setting a good example on a daily basis and using everyday situations as teaching moments. For more blogs on health and safety, visit our blogs page.