Parents Talk: Distracted Driving Among Teens

Local parents Stacy Blom and Rai Warbasse weigh in on ways they make sure their kids will remain alert and focused behind the wheel.

On the heels of ,  reminds us that it’s not just cell phones being used without headgear responsible for distraction.

It’s pretty easy to see how our busy lives can get in the way of responsible driving, especially when it comes to setting examples for our kids. However once our teens take to the road, being a distracted drver is the last thing we want them to be. 

So we asked our local parents on how they ensure their kids remain safe and alert behind the wheel.

Patch: How are you talking to your teens about the significance of not being a distracted driver? What are you telling them?

Stacy Blom: Nowadays, there are so many incidences where unnecessary accidents take place while a teen driver is texting, not paying attention, etc. I try to bring up these situations as they occur to stress the importance of paying attention while you drive. My youngest recently attended a college softball game where there was a moment of silence and two parents spoke to the crowd about how their daughter had needlessly passed on while driving and texting. I'm hoping this made a huge impact on my youngest and will always stick in her mind.

Rai Warbasse: I don’t have teens myself but I have watched my best friend raise two responsible teens by setting good examples for them and discussing the fundamentals of driving. Distractions are nothing new and it is sad that the new distraction laws are only focused around texting and cell phone use. Eating, putting on make-up, messing with the music, reading papers…I’ve seen it all as I am sure you have too. Understanding the difference between good judgment and bad judgment is about the best you can do for your teens before they just tune you out.

Patch: Are you setting a good example for your teen driver? 

Stacy: I try really hard to stay focused when driving and limit my distractions especially in front of our children. In fact, if I happen to look down at my phone for a brief moment, they're the ones that tell me not to get distracted. That's a good thing!

Rai: I would like to believe I set good examples regardless if someone is looking or not. Though I feel it is just as unsafe getting that stupid earpiece on my ear when trying to answer a call, I often let voicemail pick up the call and will pull over to return the call. Texting or reading anything (including maps) is just something I feel is out of the question when driving. If I know I have to follow written directions to get somewhere, I make sure I can read them easily and keep the information in a spot where I don’t have to stray far from road vision.

Patch: What precautions are you making to ensure your teen is not an offender of distracted driving? 

Stacy: I think that if you are cautious in every other aspect of your life, you will be a cautious driver as well. There isn't much I can do to ensure they are not offenders of distracted driving. You teach, preach and pray a lot that they are safe! 

Rai: When my children are old enough to drive, I plan to talk with them on a regular basis regarding safety and driving. I also plan to teach them about cell phone usage as soon as they are responsible enough to carry a cell phone. Until then, I will consistently set a good example.

Jefftien Won April 15, 2012 at 02:14 PM
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