When you use your phone behind the wheel it is a distraction. And when drivers face distractions behind the wheel danger, destruction and death can all happen. You know this, and keep your phone tucked away during every drive you take. But you aren’t so sure that your child knows exactly why they shouldn’t text and drive.

To explain the risks of texting and driving to your teen driver, you can start off by letting them the levels of distractions a cell phone can create. Basically, there are three different types of distractions people can encounter during a drive:

  • Visual distractions that make someone take their eyes off the road
  • Physical distractions that can make someone take their hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive distractions that occupy a driver’s mental space

This all goes to show that if your teen child were to use your cell phone while in the driver’s seat, they could face a combination of all three distractions. Typing words or scrolling through apps requires someone to take at least one hand off the wheel and usually requires visual attention too. They might have their texting keyboard memorized or use voice to text technology. But the mental energy needed to craft texts is still energy that one should spend on driving safely and following the rules of the road instead. In fact, cell phone use can reduce brain activity dedicated to driving by 37%.

Research reveals that putting away phones in cars will allow teens to have a clearer focus behind the wheel, be less likely to cause or fall victim to a crash and more likely to follow driving laws. In fact, high school students who’ve admitted to texting and driving were also more likely to skip wearing a seat belt and drink and drive.

Texting or multitasking while driving isn’t only a teen problem. However, teens who are embarking on the beginning of their driving journey can benefit greatly from building a foundation of safe habits.