The surprising thing that might be giving teens a bad rep in the driving department

Here’s another thing you can blame FOMO for: bad driving. This Fear of Missing Out, this anxious need to always be in touch with our friends — it’s affecting our driving, and not in a good way. A recent survey determined that 70% of people admitted to using their smartphones at the wheel, and when it comes to teens, that number is so high because they feel pressured to respond immediately, to always be online and available.

The study showed that, unsurprisingly, teens blamed their parents. More than half of the teens surveyed said that they texted while driving in order to keep their parents updated, and one fifth of teens claimed that their parents expected responses within one minute, or else they’d freak. However, 60% of parents disagreed. Whatever the statistics, clearly this is something families need to have a conversation about.

But it’s not just texting! With the rise of popular mobile apps like Snapchat, teens are sharing the wheel with their social media. Here’s the specific breakdown of what we turn to when we’re on the road:

Snapchat: 38%

Instagram: 20%

Twitter: 17%

Facebook: 12%

YouTube: 12%

You guys! This isn’t good! But there’s more. When asked, 58% of teens said that they had or had almost dozed off at the wheel, which they blamed on lack of sleep because, get this, they were up too late on their smartphones!

Safety is always more important than Snapchat, and sleep is definitely more important that Instagram. I know how easy it is to get caught up in the social media spiral, to forget to look up from your phone when crossing the road, to begin and end every day with a tweet, but I think we could all benefit from unplugging once and a while — starting with when we’re driving. Maybe from there we can plan out certain days to go off the grid, but then again, let’s not get too crazy.

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