How can I talk to my friend about distracted driving without making him or her mad?
Tell your friend how important he or she is to you, and that you are worried that he or she could be hurt when texting and driving. Say you just aren't able to share a ride with someone who could either die or cause someone else to be injured.
What you think and say makes a difference. This is your chance to be a leader rather than a follower. It can be tough, but you don't want to feel responsible if your friend gets in an accident and you said nothing because you were afraid.
A mad friend is one thing. A friend who dies or becomes permanently disabled or disfigured is far worse. Your family and friends count on you to do the right thing. You are important, and what you say and do will influence other people. Face any angry response as calmly as you can and remain reasonable. If you do nothing, the regret you feel could haunt you for the rest of your life if an accident take place.
Remember, you could very well be saving a life when you speak up. Be the one who makes a difference.
I'm embarrassed to speak up. What do I do?
You have a right to be worried and if you cannot overcome your shyness or embarrassment, your only choice is to come up with another reason why you can't ride with friends who drive dangerously. Talk to your parents or a trusted teacher or counselor about what to do. You don't want to feel guilty for not doing something when your friend could be in a serious accident, killing or injuring themselves or others.
There are many people that wish they had said something and didn't. You don't want to carry the guilt with you for a lifetime. Overcoming your embarrassment and speaking up is not only important for your friends, it's important for you as a person.
It's hard to be in school and face scorn coming from other kids, whether dirty looks or cruel words. You can be confident that if you are feeling embarrassed, other kids are feel the same way.
Bring up the issue of driving with a friend you feel the most comfortable with, and talk about it extensively. This will help you to gain confidence. Keep working on it. You can make a difference and could save a life, including your own.
My friends say that eating, using navigation or a music device isn't distracted driving. What do I do?
You have no choice other than to get out of the vehicle as soon as possible if you're riding with a driver who is not paying attention to the road for any reason. This isn't one of the times when you should wait to see what happen. Any delay in action could be deadly, or someone could be paralyzed, or a person's face could need reconstructive surgery – that person may never again look the same.
Tell the driver you need to stop for the bathroom break (or other reason) and when you get out of the car, tell the driver that eating (or other activity) is making you seriously worried about getting hurt in an accident. The driver could be offended, angry or exhibit other unpleasant behavior, but in the end, you will be respected.
Tell your parents what happened. Always have a prearranged plan to get home with your parents if you're in danger while driving with a friend. You can also call the police if you're stranded and need to get help.
You can't risk your life or the lives of your friends – or other innocent people – by driving with a person who is taking risks. Make the right choice: many people could be affected by your decision.
What if my only ride home is with a friend who often drives distracted?
Tell your parents at once. They can help you arrange to get home another way. Let your friend know why you chose not to ride with them. Let his or her parents know about the dangerous driving behavior so that a tragic accident can be avoided. If your friend is later involved in an accident and dies or is seriously injured (paralyzed, brain damaged or disfigured), you'll feel responsible if you did nothing.
You can make a difference to your friend, save a life, and keep yourself safe, too. Never let a situation involving a friend who drives distracted be ignored. Say something. Get out of the car if he or she won't stop. Tell the driver it just isn't okay with you. This is the time that you need to be strong and speak up.