Driving on the road can be difficult for any person to do, let alone a busy parent with young children. However, it’s important to follow safety as much as possible while driving with kids. Practicing safe driving habits is one of the best lifestyle changes for all adults, but especially adults with children. Below are some tips you can use to prevent an accident while driving with your kids. These tips can also be used to keep you and your children safe.
Avoid Hazardous Areas
Each year, approximately 16,000 chemical spills occur from trucks, trains, and storage tanks, and these accidents usually occur when materials are being transported. If you’re driving with younger children, it’s best to stay away from hazardous areas, such as areas that have postage signs that read ‘Do not enter’ or ‘Wrong way.’ While you might be tempted to take a shortcut instead of a detour, it’s never a good idea to enter an area deemed hazardous. Even if there are only signs and no personnel redirecting you, keep your eyes open for signs pointing to dangerous areas.
Put Away the Cell Phone
Cell phones can cause major distractions while driving with kids. One of the best safe lifestyle changes you can make is to put away your cell phone while driving or use a hands-free Bluetooth device. Many cars today come standard with Bluetooth phones, meaning you can dial your loved ones with a voice command or touch of a button. However, it’s not a good idea to use your phone and take your hands off the wheel. Even a one-second distraction is enough to cause a major accident.
Set a Music Station and Leave It
It can be tempting to fumble with the radio while driving. This is especially true if you have younger children that want to continue to change the radio station. However, it’s best to leave your radio on a single station instead of fumbling with it during your drive. Changing the radio station often might be distracting to you and your children. Discuss with your children ahead of time what radio station they want to listen to and stick with the plan. If you have more than one child, consider rotating the radio station during different days of the week.
Practice Defensive Driving
Sadly, recent statistics showed that more than 138,000 or 5.9% of all car crash injuries and 5.1% of all traffic-related fatalities were caused by drivers who didn’t stop after hitting a vehicle. This is also known as a hit-and-run accident. If you’re driving with your children, practice defensive driving techniques. Defensive driving involves being aware of your surroundings and refusing to be complacent. It’s best to practice defensive driving with children by checking your mirrors, being aware of other drivers around you, and checking before you enter a green light.
Consider Bringing Toys
Toys are a great way to keep children entertained during the commute to and from school. With 1.5 million children, including 32% of 4-year-olds and 5% of 3-year-olds, enrolled in preschool, chances are you’re commuting with a younger child that needs loads of stimulation. Consider taking toys such as handheld games, handheld puzzles, and similar toys that aren’t distracting to you while driving. These toys can help keep your child entertained while helping you focus on the road.
Always Use A Car Seat
Younger children should always be placed in a car seat in the back of the vehicle, instead of in the front passenger seat. Using a car seat is one of the best lifestyle changes that can help keep your child safe and prevent you from facing legal repercussions if you are involved in an accident. Be sure it is the proper size for your child, as this can have an impact on its effectiveness.
These tips above can help you feel peace of mind while driving with your children. Implement them as soon as possible so you can keep yourself and your children safe on your daily drives.