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A Seemingly Innocent Cause For Distracted Driving That Every Parent Should Be Aware Of

Kids can teach you a lot about new advancements in technology, but you’ll always have the fundamentals of life to teach them. And what can be more fundamental than teaching your child the bases of safety…especially on the road? Long Island roads can be extremely dangerous.

State laws are set in place to protect drivers and pedestrians, and they change often. Laws against texting while driving are getting more and more strict – and for good reason. Did you know that texting and driving is 6 times more likely to cause a car accident than being intoxicated behind the wheel?

Parents need to recognize all factors that can cause distracted driving so they can inform their kids on how to always be safe and attentive on the road. And one distraction, as helpful and innocent as it may seem, is the use of cellphone navigation.

The State of New York’s stance against driving while using a phone does in fact state that using your phone for navigation while driving is considered Distracted Driving while in-hand.

When new drivers are both learning how to drive and to navigate in a certain area, they’re likely anxious. If they’re driving slow because they’re lost, it’s likely that a local driver behind them may become aggravated and honk at them, adding to that anxiety. When you’re anxious, you’re more likely to make a bad decision. Bad decisions on the road can easily lead to catastrophe.

We urge you to recognize cellphone navigation as a potential cause for distracted driving, especially when in-hand. Here are some ways to instill good driving/navigational habits in your child:

  • Mount It – Make sure they never have to carry their phone in-hand while driving – create a space in their car where they can mount their phone and easily view it for navigational use only
  • Route It – If their cell phone is their only navigational tool, make sure they always have a good feel for their route before driving – this can lessen their anxiety
  • Asking Instead of Demanding – ie. If they’re speeding with you in the car, ask them what the speed limit is instead of just telling them they’ll “get a ticket” – this can help create awareness
  • Two Arms – Make sure they don’t drive with their arm(s) over the speedometer – this is a good way for anyone to lose track of their speed – they must always have two hands on the wheel
  • They’re the Judge – Make sure they know that they need to feel safe before making a turn, accelerating, etc. and not to make anxious decisions even if the driver behind them is honking
  • Give Confidence with a Compass – If you’re teaching them to drive while riding passenger, teach them the fundamentals of North, South, East & West – ie. “So we were just driving South and now we’re turning left; are we going East or West now?”
  • 360⁰ Awareness – Teach them how to be aware of all their surroundings with their mirrors
  • Roadway Communication – Teach them how to communicate with other drivers – when to honk, when to wave them on, when to wave them off, etc.
  • Courtesy Isn’t Always Safe – Tell them never to make a turn based off someone else’s judgement if they’re being waved on to go – they should learn to guarantee their own safety and if put in that situation, courteously wave off the driver motioning them to go

Your child depends on you to help them learn good driving habits. Set a stellar example.