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#ParentHack: One Mom’s Plan for Preventing Distracted Driving

I have three kids who will become drivers in the very near future. Yikes.

I remember when I learned to drive, one of the hardest things to learn to do was to coordinate using my feet and hands at the same time. There was a whole lot to concentrate on already without any of the distractions that currently exist.

My Biggest Fear about Having My Teens Drive

Having teen drivers will probably be the scariest thing I ever do as a mother. I’m terrified to have them behind the wheel of a car generally, but one of the major reasons is because of all the people I see on my daily commute who are texting and driving. I commute into New York City every day, and everyone—I mean everyone—is on their phone while they drive.

I’m very concerned that my kids will think it’s completely normal to hold their phone in their hand while they drive. Or to send a quick text while they’re at a red light. I don’t want my new drivers to be distracted by texting, reading Twitter at a red light, or playing music.

Surprising Benefits of Driving Manual

So I had already been thinking about what I can do to limit the temptation to text and drive.

This is what I did.

When we recently bought a new car for our family, I made sure to buy a manual instead of an automatic.

There were some benefits of stick shift. My logic was you can’t text and drive if you’re using both of your hands to steer and to shift. Hopefully, it will force my kids to concentrate on driving and both hands will be too busy to mess with their phones.

Plus, it’s cool to know how to drive a stick, and not many of their friends will. Hopefully this will also keep my kids from letting their friends drive the car. And it’s a skill they’ll have their whole lives.

—Anonymous in Connecticut 

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