It goes without saying that driving with kids in the car is a lot more stressful than driving on your own. For one, you’re worried about their safety and well being as you’re behind the wheel, but the other reason it can be more stressful is because your children can become a distraction. Every parent has likely experienced sibling rivalries, screaming babies, toys being chucked out the window and much more.
The truth is, it can get pretty dangerous in an instant. So, we came up with a few pointers on how you can enhance safety on the road while driving with your kids:
1. Do a Vehicle Check
Before you load the kids into the car, be sure to do a quick inspection of the vehicle. Every time you drive you put wear and tear on the vehicle. This damage will ultimately alter the performance of the vehicle. Therefore, to ensure that you and your kids are safe on the road you need to do a once over of the inside and outside of your vehicle. For example, accident attorney Mike Pines gives advice on how to check your tires to minimize the chances of an accident. Other vehicle checks to consider would be looking underneath the vehicle to make sure that necessary fluids aren’t leaking and to inspect the seat belts to ensure they’re functioning properly.
2. Buckle Up for Safety
No matter how old your children are they need to be wearing the proper safety belts. Before you pull out of the driveway, do a quick check to make sure that everyone has been strapped in with a seat belt or car seat. You also want to make sure you’re buckled up too as this sets a good example for the kids and of course keeps you safe as well.
3. Find Great Entertainment
To keep the screaming, crying, and fighting to a minimum in the back seat it is probably a good idea to make sure that you have great entertainment for the kids. Thanks to modern technology, there are plenty of things that can keep them occupied at all ages. Whether they’re going to watch a movie or play games on a tablet, or color and play with their favorite toy, the more entertained they are, the less likely they are to become a distraction while you’re on the road.
4. Put Safety Locks On
Younger children have a tendency to grab at the handle while the car is in motion, fling things out of the window, and even stick their head out the window while you’re driving. To avoid this problem it is important to put the safety locks on. Most vehicles have the means to put on childproof locks which prevent children from opening the door from the inside or operating the window without permission.
5. Follow the Rules of the Road
Another bit of advice would be to follow the rules of the road. This means no speeding, following behind vehicles at a safe distance, and of course paying attention to traffic signs.
6. Secure a Place for Trash
There is nothing more dangerous than an empty water bottle being flung up to the front seat or having a plastic bag suddenly flapping around freely in the car. To prevent these distractions, it is beneficial to have a designated place for trash. Whether you tie a plastic bag to the door handle and place trash in there or invest in compartment for your car. There are plenty of organizational compartments that can easily store trash, toys, and other things you need in the vehicle. The more organized your car is, the less likely that something will distract you as you drive.
7. Take Frequent Breaks
If you’re taking a long road trip with children, it is probably a good idea to take breaks often. When your kids become irritable they tend to take the distractions to another level. Stop and allow them to stretch their legs, use the restroom, and possibly re-energize with some food and drinks.
8. No Cell Phone
While driving, you should never get on the cell phone as it can cause an accident. No matter who might be calling it is best to wait until you can pull over. If you tend to use the phone a lot, at the very least you should invest in a hands-free system that allows you to make and receive phone calls without having to physically hold the phone in your hand.
9. Get the Right Insurance
No one plans to be involved in an accident, but the truth is it can happen at any time. In order to protect you and your children it is imperative that you invest in the right car insurance. The right insurance coverage should financially compensate you for any damage to your vehicle and pay for any medical bills that may be necessary for you and your children.
No matter how angelic your children might be, there is always the potential that they can become a distraction in the car. To prevent an accident and keep your family safe, follow all of the above advice. While it may not prevent your child from finding other creative ways to grab your attention, it can certainly minimize the risks.