What the heck is FOMO and why is it causing teen drivers to crash?

What the heck is FOMO and why is it causing teen drivers to crash?

As all concerned parents can attest, it’s downright scary when your “baby” cuts the apron strings and gets his driver’s license. You stand at the end of the driveway and wave goodbye (with a hidden tear in your eye!) while he drives away alone for the very first time. Your child celebrates his newfound independence. You celebrate the sound of the garage door raising when he returns. There are just so many things to worry about, but what the heck is FOMO? And why is it causing inexperienced teen drivers to crash?

FOMO is an acronym for “fear of missing out.” According to a new report from Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), teen drivers feel pressure to respond immediately to texts and notifications in fear of missing something important. This “always on” lifestyle can have deadly consequences. “Today’s hyper-connected teens may be more plugged into their devices than the actual driving task,” says William Horrey, principal research scientist. When you combine FOMO with driver inexperience, the likelihood of a crash rises dramatically.

So, what are teens doing on their electronic devices while driving? According to the new study, 38% are on Snapchat, 20% on Instagram, 17% on Twitter, 12% on Facebook, and 12% on YouTube. In addition, about half of the teens surveyed reported that they only get 3-6 hours of sleep, due in part to staying plugged in to social media. The effects of driving while sleepy are similar to those of driving under the influence; 24 hours without sleep can be the equivalent of three cocktails.

Parents – the data is in. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real and very dangerous. If YOU text and drive, stop immediately. Not only are you putting your own life in danger, but you’re also sending the wrong message to your teen. It’s NOT OK to answer that one call or respond to that one text. It can wait. Anything that takes your eyes off the road is a potentially fatal danger.

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