The thought of having your teenager behind the wheel is understandably cause for more than a little anxiety. Fortunately, the latest technologies and apps can help reduce worry among the parents of new drivers.
“As a parent myself, I sympathize with the feeling of apprehension as your kids begin driving,” explains Marc Saltzman, tech expert and columnist. “But while concerns over distractions from tech devices are legitimate, there are many ways technology is actually making driving safer.”
While handing the keys over the kids may never become completely stress-free, technology is helping give teens the freedom they crave while allowing parents the peace of mind they deserve. Here are three tips for using tech wisely in the vehicle.
1. Go hands free: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto help young drivers stay hands-free by mimicking their cellphone’s screen on the car’s built-in display. With their device plugged in and out of the way, teens are able to get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music — all while staying focused on the road.
2. Get a report card: Car manufacturers are responding to parental anxiety directly. For example, the new Chevrolet Malibu comes with a built-in technology called Teen Driver. It supports safe driving habits by muting radio or paired device audio when front seat occupants aren’t wearing safety belts and gives sound and visual warnings when the vehicle exceeds preset speeds. Teen Driver also provides parents with an in-vehicle report card of the teen driver’s performance that parents can use as a teaching tool.
3. Apps are your best friend: Texi is an app that entertains friends who text your kid while they’re on the road, auto-responding with a funny meme that says they’ll respond soon. The app provides a fun way to help new drivers focus while keeping in touch with their besties.