It’s April, and you know what that means… It’s finally National Distracted Driving Awareness Month!
Okay, so you probably haven’t been marking the days off the calendar in preparation, but this April is as good a time as any to practice communicating with teenagers about important teenage issues like distracted driving. Specifically, we’re talking about texting while driving, one of the most dangerous and the most common teenage behaviors.
This month, the story of California teenager Amanda Clark has been making the rounds online. Clark nearly died when she crashed her Chevy Trailblazer while texting behind the wheel and running a stop sign. Her car rolled three times, but thankfully she escaped with only minor injuries. She pledged to use the crash as a wake-up call and wrote about the accident for her senior project.
“I believe everything happens for a reason and the reason for my car accident is to let me know that I need to slow down and pay more attention. I know that I need to change the way I have been living my life. My phone and talking to my friends put me in danger. I realize how easy it is for my life to be over because I wasn’t paying attention.”
A year later, first responders found Clark’s body inside the wreckage of her ruined car. It took them 40 minutes to free her body, but by then it was too late. Phone records would show that she was texting and driving, again. Clark’s mom thought the message had sunk in, but obviouslcommunicating with teenagers is harder than it appears.
Communicating With Teenagers: How To Put an End To Abnormal Teenage Behavior Before It Turns Deadly…
It’s not always easy to tell the difference between normal teenage behavior and a disaster waiting to happen. For instance, typical teenage behavior today involves spending hours glued to their phones and devices (whether that’s a good thing or not is another conversation). But when a teenager is so addicted to their technology that they can’t even drive without pulling out their phones, then there’s a serious problem.
Texting while driving might not seem like a top priority for many parents, especially in a world full of so much pain. Bullying, eating disorders, and mental health might seem like “bigger” problems. It’s up to parents to set limits for their children, and to promote accountability and discipline when those limits are breached.
Communicating with teenagers isn’t easy. If it were, we wouldn’t need things like National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in the first place.
This April, take the time to remind your teens about the dangers of texting while driving. Make sure they know you have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to distracted driving.