Motivate Safe Driving Choices
Health education and public health outreach that is grounded in the Health Belief Model has been demonstrated to be effective. The Health Belief Model states that a person's willingness to maintain healthy behaviors or adopt healthier habits is predictable if several factors are present:
- Perceived Susceptibility: People adopt new health behaviors when they believe they are at risk. For example, if teens perceive that crash risk is raised if they allow certain distractions in the car, they may abstain from distractions like cell phone use while driving or actively set rules for their passengers.
- Perceived Severity: People change health behaviors to avoid serious consequences. For example, teens who think that they could lose school parking privileges or access to the family car if they don't follow GDL laws may be more likely to adhere to them.
- Perceived Benefits: People adopt a new behavior if they think their efforts will be rewarded with a "set of perks." It's difficult to convince people to change a behavior if there isn't something in it for them. For instance, teens might be more likely to abstain from cell phone use while driving if they understand the benefits, such as having increased control of their driving and less chance of crashing, rather than hearing adults harp on the dangers of cell phones.
- Perceived Barriers: One of the major reasons people don't change their health behaviors is that they think that doing so is going to be hard-- socially, financially, or physically. To think in terms of teens and driving, you might address their perceived barriers with acceptable alternatives to unsafe driving behaviors. For instance, teens who describe a perceived safety/security disadvantage of not using a cell phone while driving might find it acceptable to keep the cell phone in the car and simply not use it when behind the wheel except in an emergency.