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Tell teens it's okay to be basic: technology and driving

When you first learned to drive, cars seemed pretty basic. Your parent's car had crank windows. You remember when cassette tape players and flipping through static-laden radio stations were your options for music. Your parents kept a book of maps in the car and stopped to ask for directions if they needed them.

Things are different now. Your teen is used to windows that roll-down at the touch of a button. Keyless entry and satellite radio aren't necessarily luxuries. Now that your teen is about to get their driver's license, you are thankful for such amenities. Safety features keep improving and you know you can prompt safe driving with apps on their smartphone. But with all these safe technology options, you may still want to remind your new driver to rely on basic techniques.

What reliable safety features should you talk to your children about?

  • Backup sensors and cameras. This technology has made backing out of parking spots or reversing out of a tough situation much easier. Remind your child not to become complacent using these features. Your new driver should still turn to check surroundings, rely on mirrors and watch for pedestrians.
  • Lane detection capabilities. Some newer cars come equipped with a detection system composed of sensors that monitor the sides of the vehicle. These sensors help detect lane markings and other vehicles. While this feature can be very useful, you should remind your teen to check the side mirrors, be warry of blind-spots, and look over their shoulder when switching lanes.
  • Voice control systems. Hands-free technology is a great alternative to holding a phone. However, drivers-especially new drivers-can still become distracted. While their eyes can focus on the road, their minds might be preoccupied with the call or text. Advise your child to only use these features when absolutely necessary. Pulling over and safely stopping the vehicle before addressing any communications is always best.
  • Automatic braking capabilities. This feature can help motorists avoid rear-ending cars in front of them when they need to stop in a second's notice. When discussing this feature, create an opportunity to talk to you child about maintaining a safe distance at all times.

The addition of safety features and technology can help put your mind at ease. Rest even more assured by teaching your child the absolute basics. Technology is great, but driver capability and intuition is important.

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