Driving demands the full attention of the driver. Talking on the phone and texting decrease the driver’s concentration considerably. Don’t even look at your phone, even at intersections—wait until you’re off the road and the motor is turned off. While some states allow hands-free talking on a phone while driving, most do not allow hands-free for novice drivers—during your first years of driving (GHSA, 2019).
With texting, consider this: the average text takes your eyes off the road for almost 5 seconds—at 55mph, that’s like driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded—without seeing anything in traffic you’d need to avoid.
Remember, distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving (NHTSA, 2021).
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Tips on talking to your teen about distracted driving
Most traumatic injuries to teens are caused by roadway crashes— whether you’re a driver or a passenger. The good news is-- most of these injuries are very preventable. But it’s up to you to keep yourself and others from getting injured.
Here are some other ways to ThinkFirst while driving
Take The Pledge to be a safe driver
Take the Pledge
ThinkFirst to End Distracted Driving Today. Make the commitment to use your brain to protect your body and pledge to be a safe driver and passenger.
- Keep eyes on the road and focus on driving
- Never handle a phone or other electronic device while driving
- Avoid driving distractions such as looking for a song on your playlist, eating or drinking, applying makeup or loose pets.
- Be a safe passenger when someone else is driving, don't distract the driver!
- Speak up! Offer to text for the driver or help with navigation.