It’s been a busy few months at The Lounge, and I’ve been hanging onto a story that I thought was very important to share. Teen Driving Safety Week a couple of months ago, but the topic of safe driving is timeless. It used to be that teenagers, being new behind the wheel, were at greatest risk. That theory is supported by the increased cost to insure teen drivers. However, driving around, it’s clear that we’re all doing a lot more multi-tasking that we should behind the wheel. Between cell phones, in-car movies, activity overload, and hectic schedules, we’re busy. Add to that the pressure of holiday shopping and end-of-year work stress, and we’re even more frenzied. I thought some safe driving tips would benefit us all.

Dan MacDonald, Executive Director of Communications for Bridgestone Americas, also oversees communications for the company’s consumer road safety programs, including Think Before You Drive and Safety Scholars. He shared these helpful tips (slightly edited) for The MomTini Lounge parents.

Tips: Don’t Drive Distracted

As parents, we worry about a lot of things: our kids’ health, performance at school and their safety. And as our children get older, it doesn’t get any easier. Take one glimpse at teen driving statistics and it’s clear: the real culprit facing today’s teens behind the wheel is distracted driving.

During National Teen Driver Safety Week, we encourage families to take the opportunity to talk to their teens about driver safety. The conversation is changing, and it needs to. We can no longer be content with just warning our teens about the dangers of drinking and driving or the importance of buckling up. We must also address distracted driving – and set an example.

To keep everyone safe on the roads, here are a few quick tips on how to avoid distraction behind the wheel:

“Would you do it in the shower?” Ask yourself this question every time you start an activity behind the wheel. Would you eat, text, talk on the phone or change a CD in the shower? Then you probably shouldn’t be doing it behind the wheel either, right?!

Know Point B. You should have a good idea of how to get to your destination before revving up the engine. There’s nothing more distracting than trying to follow directions when you’re driving down the freeway. Make sure to check weather and road conditions as well.

Manage your time so that you do not have to multi-task or drive aggressively on the road.

Stay focused. Long day at school and practice? Looking forward to unwinding on the ride home? Sorry, driving isn’t “down time.” Stay focused on the road and once you get home set aside 20 minutes to eat a snack, sit down and relax.

Be prepared – anticipate. You know when your coach tells you to anticipate your opponent’s next move during a game? Well, you should do the same on the road. Be prepared for sudden stops, lane changes and … distracted drivers.

Save your concentration for the road, not a conversation. The road is not the place to have a serious conversation with your passengers. Check your emotions at the door as well.

Pull over if needed. If it’s that important, you can text from a parking lot or the side of the road. We can assure you that your parents and friends won’t get mad if you call them back once you have safely gotten out of traffic.

Buckle up! And this is a given — wear your seatbelt every time you get in a vehicle.

Many thanks to Dan for sharing these tips!

What tips do you have for modeling and reinforcing safe driving with your kids?

Photo – Flickr