How To Help Teen Drivers Using Technology: Cars, Apps, and More
Parents often feel helpless when it comes to protecting their teen drivers on the road. It’s not possible for parents to be in the passenger seat instructing their teen at all times, but fortunately, there are other ways to keep teen drivers safe on the road. There are a number of new technologies that can greatly benefit teen drivers–and help parents rest easy, too.
The word technology may ring a few alarm bells among parents who associate it with distracted driving. Distracted driving is a growing problem, and technology has certainly contributed to its growth. Smartphones, tablets, and other devices can distract teens while they are behind the wheel. Sadly, these distractions are often deadly. In fact, it is estimated that nine people are killed in distracted driving crashes every day.
Despite the link between technology and distracted driving, it’s important for parents to recognize that technology can be beneficial to their teen drivers as well. As long as teen drivers use technology responsibly, they can reap the many rewards that it offers. Here’s a look at some of the technologies that can keep your teen safe on the road:
Car Safety Features
Many cars feature built-in technology that can keep young and inexperienced drivers safe. The Ford MyKey system is one of the newest and most innovative car safety features that is perfect for parents and teen drivers. Using this system, parents can set seat belt reminders, block inappropriate radio stations, set a maximum speed, and limit the volume of the car’s stereo. Parents can adjust the settings as they see fit to create an environment that promotes safe and focused driving. Of course, this technology is only for Ford owners, and in 2018, Ford announced they would stop making sedans–the go-to first car for many teen drivers.
GMC’s Teen Driver technology is another car safety system that is designed specifically for teen drivers. This system offers many of the same features as the Ford MyKey system, however the GMC system also provides parents with a report card that contains an overview of their teen’s driving performance. Parents can use the information in this report card to identify areas their teen needs to improve upon. For example, if the report card shows your teen is speeding on a regular basis, it’s time to talk to your teen about the dangers and consequences of speeding. The GMC system will also automatically activate certain safety features within the vehicle, such as side blind zone alert and forward collision alert when a teen is behind the wheel. Systems like these can keep teens safe and slowly help them become better drivers.
These car safety features are perfect for protecting your teen with general driving habits, but don’t necessarily change any of the most dangerous behaviors: distracted driving.
Smartphone Apps That Prevent Distracted Driving For Teen Drivers
Many existing distracted driving apps are designed to keep teen drivers safe while on the road. If you’re worried about your teen using his cell phone while behind the wheel, look for an app designed to prevent distracted driving. AT&T DriveMode helps drivers keep their focus on the road by automatically silencing incoming calls, texts, and other notifications. This app can even send automatic responses to loved ones who text your teen to let them know your teen can’t respond because he’s behind the wheel.
Sprint is another cell phone service provider that has designed an app to help parents keep an eye on their teen drivers. The Safe & Found app gives parents the power to track their teen’s location at all times. It also allows parents to create “safe zones,” and will notify them if their teen travels outside one of these areas.
The Hum by Verizon app allows parents to monitor both their teen and their teen’s car. Parents can open the app at any time to see an overview of the car’s current condition. This gives parents the power to identify and fix potential issues before they put teens in danger on the road. If something does happen while your teen is on the road, you can rest easy knowing your teen can easily call for roadside assistance using the Hum app.
New Technology For Parents and Teens
Focus by TeenDrive is the only technology focused on protecting their teens’ lives, instead of just the cars. With some parent favorite features of location tracking and disabling phone activity while on the road, this new app will reinvent how parents can help teens learn safe driving habits.
Technology might not be capable of putting parents in the passenger seat so they can keep a close eye on their teen drivers, but it can keep teen drivers safe in many other ways. Explore these technologies with your teen so you can decide which will be the most beneficial to both of you, and remember to use a safe driving contract to make sure they stick to the right habits.