This public awareness campaign encourages parents to discuss the issue of cannabis and impaired driving with teens and young adults.
#HaveThisTalk is part of Parachute’s Know What Impaired Means campaign, which raises awareness about how cannabis use negatively affects a person’s ability to drive safely, targeted to 15- to 24-year-olds.
Why you should #HaveThisTalk
- Youth aged 15 to 24 use cannabis at a rate twice as high as adults: One-third report using cannabis
- 19 per cent say they have driven within four hours of using cannabis
- 35 per cent have been a passenger with a driver who used cannabis in the previous four hours
- 16- to 34-year-olds represent 32 per cent of the Canadian population, but 61 per cent of deaths and 59 per cent of injuries from cannabis-related collisions
What you should #HaveThisTalk about
Cannabis impairment doubles the risk of being in a crash. The risk is even higher when combined with alcohol.
How cannabis affects your abilities to drive
Cannabis impairs cognitive and motor abilities that are necessary to drive safely, including:
- balance and co-ordination
- motor skills
- reaction time
- decision-making skills
Misperceptions about the effects of cannabis
Ten per cent of youth believe that cannabis does not impair a person’s ability to drive and 31 per cent believe that people think cannabis impairs your ability to drive more than it actually does. As well, one-third of youth believe it is far safer to drive after using cannabis compared to driving after using alcohol or other drugs. None of this is true.
Know and understand your alternatives
Know what to do instead of driving high, or getting into a car with an impaired driver: Make arrangements to get home safe with a friend, family member, cab, rideshare or public transit.
How to #HaveThisTalk
- Prepare: Reflect on your own beliefs, assumptions and knowledge about cannabis, impaired driving and youth. If you feel you do not know enough about the topic, research it some more.
- Set goals: Be clear on what you wish to achieve by having this talk with your child. This will depend on the age of your child (for example, whether they are of legal age to use cannabis or to drive). Find out what your child would like to get out of the conversation, too.
- Get comfortable: Find a setting where both of you can feel calm and relaxed to talk about this topic. A casual talk during a walk or while sitting outside may be good options.
- Release judgment: Keep an open mind. If your child feels judged, they will be less likely to listen and engage with you. Try to put yourself in their shoes.
- Listen actively: Engage your child in a dialogue – don’t lecture. Be mindful of your body language (uncrossed legs and a relaxed posture are more welcoming), as well as your child’s body language to better understand how they may be feeling.
- Build skills: Help your child develop skills, such as exercising judgment on where and when it’s appropriate to use cannabis, and strategies, such as planning for a safe way home.