Club teen reminding driver to wear seatbelt

Boys & Girls Clubs teach teens smart driving year-round. This Distracted Driving Awareness Month, learn more about teen driving skills to practice year-round.

Distracted Driving: A Wake-Up Call for Teens and Parents

One of the first ways teens practice responsibility and independence is by earning their driver’s license and getting behind the wheel.  

It’s an exciting time – being in charge of your own transportation – but it’s also a societal commitment to being safe on the road. Reckless driving can result in bodily harm and death for yourself, your passengers and other drivers; damage to automobiles, buildings and roadways; and a lot of time and money spent navigating insurance, legal fees, tickets and more. That’s why it’s critically important when teaching teens to drive that they understand what distracted driving is and the cost of driving distracted. 

Many Boys & Girls Clubs provide teen driving programs that ensure teens learn the rules of smart driving. Here’s some of what Club teens are learning: 

What is Distracted Driving? 

Distracted driving is defined as anything that can divert your attention from the road. This includes driving while: 

  • texting,  
  • eating,  
  • searching for music or using the GPS, 
  • putting on makeup or adjusting hair or clothes, 
  • not paying attention to the road as you chat with passengers, or  
  • talking on the phone. 

Teens do a lot of these things outside of vehicles and can forget that commonplace habits shouldn’t happen behind the wheel, even if they feel they’re able to multitask. In fact, distracted driving statistics show just how dangerous not being focused at the wheel can be: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020.  

Teaching teens early on the importance of safety while driving can instill positive driving habits for a lifetime.  

Top 3 Common Distractors on the Road 

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the below three issues are the most common distractions many of us all face on the road: 

  • Visual distractions such as looking at your GPS navigation, a billboard on the highway, looking at scenery that’s not directly in your front view. 

  • Manual distractions that might cause you to move your hands away from the wheel, that can include using your phone, changing your music, eating or even reaching for something in the backseat.  

  • Cognitive distractions that might take your mind off of driving, such as singing, talking and or daydreaming. 

Teaching a Teen to Drive? Here are 9 Tips for Teen Drivers 

Since 2009, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The UPS Foundation have partnered to change the trend of distracted driving with transformative impact programming that can save lives. Through Club staff and UPS volunteers, as well as virtual driving simulations that mirror what teens can expect on the road, teens are building their knowledge of distracted driving and driving safety. 

Here are 9 teen driving tips from Boys & Girls Club teens who’ve become safe driving ambassadors at their Club: 

  1. Always double-check incoming traffic. 
    Look left, right, left before entering an intersection. 

  2. A little distance is a good thing when stopping. 
    Keep space in front of your car when stopped in traffic. 

  3. And so is some healthy distance when starting. 
    Delay your start-up by three seconds after the vehicle in front of you has started to move. 

  4. Never follow too tightly in case of sudden braking. 
    Maintain a good following distance. 

  5. Always have a sense of what might be upcoming. 
    Look further down the road – look for changes in your travel path. 

  6. Be aware of parked cars about to enter traffic. 
    Scan parked cars – look for signs of movement. 

  7. Green means go – until suddenly, it’s yellow. 
    Identify stale green lights – or green lights where you do not know how long it has been green and it may change momentarily and be dangerous depending on your speed. 

  8. Always have a sense of who’s in front, beside and behind you. 
    Check mirrors every 5-8 seconds. 

  9. But don’t rely solely on mirrors. 
    Look over your shoulders and check your blind spot when changing lanes. 

When you consider how many steps there are to being a safe driver, it’s pretty obvious how distracted driving can get in the way. But with the right knowledge in place and eyes on the road, teen drivers can be set up for safe driving success. 

Interested in finding a driving school for teens near you? Your teen might enjoy the UPS Road Code Program at a Boys & Girls Club, where they can also benefit from academic programs, mentorship, sports leagues and more. Learn more about Road Code and download resources at


Join the Club 

Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides safe places, caring mentors and life-enhancing programs to millions of kids and teens annually. Join us on our mission of helping all young people reach their full potential: 




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