As a mom, driving with children of any age is a unique experience. Regardless of where you are and what you are doing, you are still “mom” and your child may decide that they need your attention — right now! Having passengers who have no idea about car etiquette can be distracting – and it can also be dangerous. You want to make sure that you and your children are safe, so here are a few tips to help you keep your focus while driving.
Driving in a car with children often means driving with distractions. While you certainly can’t do much about how your children act when they’re in the backseat, you can go out of your way to eliminate the kind of distractions that can lead to an accident.
Avoid changing the radio or checking your phone while driving. While this may seem like common sense, everyone does it at one point or another, so you should make a conscious effort to avoid these things. To help cut down on distractions, automakers are starting to equip cars with voice control features. For example, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude uses Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth, which allows drivers to have hands-free control over the vehicle. These types of features make it easier for drivers to avoid common distractions in the car.
While your child’s favorite toy might have sounds and flashing lights, giving your child something to do in the car that doesn’t distract you is also a great way to keep him or her safe. Think of all the times you’ve jumped when hearing a toy unexpectedly – and now think about what would happen when you heard that same sound while driving.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Many of the problems that occur when driving with children – or when driving at all – happen because of a lack of preparation. A great way to prepare yourself for a safer drive is to have everything ready to go before you get in the car. This means making sure that your kids have everything they need before you start the engine and that you take care of any activities that might cause you to lose your focus while you are on the road. Small steps can pay off in a big way, especially if you find yourself easily distracted by the things your children demand while in the vehicle.
This kind of preparation should extend to knowing where you are going ahead of time. Don’t put an address in your phone while you on the road – do it while you are still in park so that you don’t have to fumble around while driving. It’s easy to get over-stressed when you don’t know where you are going, something that children only tend to exacerbate. If you want to avoid injuries caused by a lack of proper attention, you should strive to give yourself as much extra preparation as possible.
Follow the Rules
If you’ve got children in the car, it’s time to put yourself mentally back in a Driver’s Education class. Do you remember all of those little rules and procedures you followed when you first started driving? While you may have lost a few of them over the years, there are always rules that the average driver knows but fails to follow. If you’re in a car with children, though, you can prevent many injuries by merely driving in a safer and more controlled manner.
At a basic level, this means things like making sure that everyone is wearing a seat-belt or is in the proper type of car seat. You’ll also want to start leaving more room before you stop and driving at speeds that are closer to the speed limit than you might otherwise drive. Additionally, if you know that there are going to be hazardous conditions or hazardous roads, attempt to avoid them as best as possible.
You can also set rules for your children when you are driving. They can be simple things, like waiting until the car is stopped to take off seat belts, no yelling, no fighting, and other things, but these rules can make a huge difference. These don’t have to be significant changes to the way you drive, but they can make a huge impact on whether or not you get in an accident. Driving safely is simply the best way to avoid those accidents that can actually be prevented.
The unfortunate truth is that you can’t stop every wreck. You can, however, put yourself in a position to minimize harm and reduce your likelihood of contributing to an incident. Prepare for your drive ahead of time, eliminate all the distractions you can, and follow the rules carefully. If you can do that, you’ll make the road a safer place for your children.