Taking the Kids for a Ride – Tips for Avoiding car accidents
We all know the importance of safe driving. After all, nobody wants to get into an auto accident, especially with precious cargo on board. However, it is easy to forget the basics when you have little ones in the car. In an instant, your car ride can go from normal to utter chaos when Junior tosses a sippy cup at your head, and it spills everywhere as he screams with delight at the top of his lungs. What is a parent to do? While your first reaction will be to immediately try and solve the kiddie-induced crisis, remember that when you are behind the wheel your primary function is as a safe driver.
Distracted drivers are a major source of accidents on American roadways, and parents are no exception. In fact, driving with passengers – especially little ones in the backseat – can cause a usually safe and cautious driver to become distracted and make dangerous mistakes. It is a good idea to constantly remind yourself – especially when the young ones are causing trouble – that you must focus on auto safety and deal with your children’s problems when you can safely pull over and stop the vehicle. Even taking your eyes or your attention off the road for “just a second” can result in disaster.
Tips for Driving with Children
- Buckle up: first and foremost, don’t start that car until everyone is buckled in safely – you included. You probably take the time to make sure that your kids are safely strapped into age-appropriate restraints, but remember that you are their primary role model. Set a good example and protect your own safety by buckling your seatbelt each and every time you get into the car
- Know your triggers: if there are certain things that your kids do that drive you crazy, realize that these triggers could turn you into a danger on the road. Instead of waiting for the inevitable to happen, be prepared for your children to engage in the very behavior that makes you lose your cool – and be ready to count to 10 and stay calm until you can safely stop the car and deal with the crisis. Being aware of what behaviors really set you off allows you to prepare for your reaction, and keep your wits about you so you can avoid becoming another highway statistic.
- Know your children’s limits: If Junior becomes unbearable in the car after an hour strapped in the car seat, try to limit car rides to less than that amount of time. Alternately, try to find a friend or family member to ride with you – or even to ride in the back to keep Junior entertained. Also, take frequent breaks and get out for snacks or a walk to allow your kids to let off steam and bring along car-friendly toys and books to keep everyone entertained. If you have a long trip planned, allow extra time for all the breaks you’ll need to keep everyone calm and happy.
- Institute rules about car play: It’s great for the kids to amuse themselves on a long car ride, but set rules ahead of time about what kind of activities are permissible and what aren’t. For example, under no circumstance should any toys or objects be thrown around the car, even just between kids in the backseat. A loose object could hurt one of the vehicle occupants, become a projectile in an accident, or could hit the driver and cause a wreck. You might also want to consider putting the kibosh on loud or distracting games that might cause you as the driver to loose your concentration on the road.
- Let them solve their own arguments: or, pull over if you feel the need to referee. Don’t get involved in inter-child squabbles, and don’t try to play judge and jury while you’re driving. No argument is worth taking your focus off the road, even for a second.
- Avoid driving while drowsy or upset: if you’re tired or emotional about recent events, it can negatively affect your driving ability. Throw a few kids into the mix, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Don’t put your family’s life in jeopardy by driving when you aren’t physically or emotionally up to the task. Most trips can be postponed while you rest or recover – no car ride is worth risking an accident or a life.
The bottom line is to remember that first and foremost you are the driver of the vehicle, and your primary responsibility is to keeping safe on the road – both for your own family’s safety and for the safety of those around you. Make sure that no matter what happens in the backseat that you pull over safely and come to a complete stop before dealing with your children’s issues. There are plenty of other dangers on the road to focus your attention on – don’t become one of them.
Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
Sometimes accidents happen despite your best attempts at staying safe. In the unfortunate even that you or someone you love is injured in an auto accident, you will probably want an experienced attorney on your side to fight for your rights. Don’t fight with insurance companies or hospital claims departments by yourself – contact our Virginia car accident lawyers today and let us work with you for the compensation that you deserve. We can help you recover from the devastating effects of a serious auto accident and get your life back on track.