We often talk about the dangers of technology in the car, from cell phones to built-in infotainment systems, but when it comes to teen drivers, technology isn’t all bad.
The main concern for parents is distraction; your teen driver being distracted by a text, a call, a social media post or something similar while behind the wheel. These are legitimate concerns; 58% of teens involved in crashes are distracted. But when technology is used appropriately, it can also be a lifesaver and a strong partner in keeping your teen driver safe. The key is using the right technology in the right ways.
Here are four ways technology can help protect your teen driver:
- Technology blocking apps: Cell phones are a huge driver of distraction in the car, but they don’t have to be. Parents can use apps or change a phone’s settings to disable calls and texts while the car is in motion, thus avoiding the risk of distraction.
- Monitoring systems: Similarly, parents can use in-vehicle tools to set limits or rules on the car’s speed, radio volume and seatbelt use. You can even set distance boundaries for the car and get alerts if your teen exceeds them. These tools are likely to be the most controversial, since they can give your teen the idea that you don’t trust them. So be upfront and open about why you want to use these tools and communicate to your teen that it is about their safety, not about spying on him or her.
- Emergency alerts: These systems can easily or automatically call for help when a vehicle is involved in an accident, cutting down on the time for authorities or paramedics to arrive. They can provide peace of mind to parents worried about their teens driving alone for the first time.
- Backup cameras: Selecting a car with a backup camera, or purchasing and installing one, can be extremely useful for your teen. Not only can backup cameras help your teen improve his or her parallel parking skills, they’re also helpful for avoiding crashes and keeping an eye on children or objects that may be behind the car.
The best technology options for you and your teen could be a combination of tools, but the most important part is being open with your teen about using them. Just as you want to trust your teen driver to be safe on the road, he or she must trust you in order to respect and follow the safety rules you set.