How Distracted is Your Teen Behind the Wheel?


When most people think of distracted driving, their thoughts go immediately to talking on a cell phone or texting. But there are many other distractions we drivers face while on the road that can be just as dangerous as talking or texting.

Distracted driving can be much more than talking or texting while behind the wheel.
Distracted driving can be much more than talking or texting while behind the wheel.

That’s why Renown Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s Cares have teamed up to educate kids through the Kohl’s Save Your Skull Program. We give presentations to schools and talk about the many distractions teens face when driving. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “distraction” happens any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your mind off driving. Doing things like chatting with a passenger, eating, brushing your hair or putting on makeup, reading a book or map, adjusting the radio, using a navigation system or even watching a video can all cause distracted driving.

And while some of those scenarios sound silly – like putting on makeup while driving or watching a video. The problem is, people actually do those things while driving not realizing just how dangerous it can be. The time it takes to apply your mascara or change the radio station or lock the destination into your navigation system may seem like nothing, but it only takes a few seconds of distracted driving to cause a devastating crash.

For drivers with kids in the car, you know how tough it can be to concentrate on driving while the kids are yelling, crying, whining or asking you to get them something. We’ve all been there, and it’s tough to keep your concentration on the road while trying to deal with the kids in the backseat. As your kids grow and mature, it’s a good idea to talk to them about the rules of the car. You need to be able to drive them around safely and that means no yelling, no throwing things and no asking mom or dad to hand out toys or snacks while you’re driving. It’s also a good idea to have snacks, games, books a video game or movie ready and easily accessible to your tiny backseat passengers.

By Alannah Manfredi, Kohl’s Save Your Skull program coordinator