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If your kid’s in the car, your phone should never be in your hand.

Image: teen playmobil figure driving car with mobile phone in hand

Dude’s hands aren’t even on the wheel.

Your future drivers are watching.

Spring is Driver’s Ed season in New England, and my oldest child starts next week. But there’s one thing about driving that I’ve been teaching him for years: It’s not compatible with mobile phones.

If you aren’t putting that phone aside while you drive already, start doing it now, in a big, loud, pointed way. “I’m putting my phone in my bag because I’m driving!” you should say. “I’m not answering my phone even on the hands-free because I’m merging on the highway!”

Pull over to send a text. Have a child read you texts and type replies if you really must be in contact while you drive. Pull over to set up a new podcast or audio book, or to have a conversation that involves anything more than just “yes, we’re having trouble finding a parking place.”

Don’t touch the phone while the car is moving.

Why? Because that toddler in the back seat will be the driver in the front seat one day, and he is watching and learning from what you do far more than from what you say. You may think you can glance down at your phone real-quick and then back up at the road (you’re wrong)–but do you want your 16-year-old to do the same? Fifty-nine percent of teens say they’ve seen parents text and drive. We say we don’t do it, but it’s what they see that counts.

If you don’t want them to do it while they’re driving, you can’t do it while you’re driving.

Things to click this week:

Play this distracted driving game. Nobody multitasks. See just how bad you are at switching back and forth.

Also, teach your kid the basics of your car, and she might stop a car-jacking.

Got a novel in you? This will help you jack up that story.

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