Driving your children around, whether to school, extracurricular activities or just for a fun day out, is a normal part of being a parent. This everyday task can become challenging when distractions and the need to attend to your children affect your focus on the road. Understanding how to manage these factors is essential to remaining a safe driver.
When you’re behind the wheel, your main task is to drive. While your parental instincts may urge you to turn around to handle sibling squabbles or pass back snacks, it’s important to remember that taking your eyes off the road, even for a moment, can increase the risk of an accident.
Setting rules and expectations
Before you start the car, take a moment to remind your kids of your family’s clear rules and expectations concerning road travel. This set of values and boundaries could include rules like no yelling in the car, staying seated with seat belts fastened or not asking for snacks or drinks while moving. Ensuring that your children understand and respect these rules will help reduce distractions while driving.
Try to anticipate your children’s needs before you start driving. For instance, if you know they might get hungry, give them snacks before you leave or during stops. If they enjoy music or audiobooks, have these queued up and ready to play. The less you need to attend to your children while driving, the more you can focus on the road.
Use technology wisely
While technology can be a source of distraction, it can also be a helpful tool when used correctly. For example, use your vehicle’s Bluetooth capabilities to manage calls hands-free or use GPS to navigate unfamiliar routes. Remember, any use of technology should aid safe driving without becoming a distraction.
Regular breaks on long drives
Plan to take regular breaks if you’re embarking on a longer drive. This gives you a chance to rest and allows children to use up some energy. During these breaks, you can also take care of your children’s needs, such as snacks or bathroom visits.
While every parent hopes they’ll never be in a crash with their child, there’s a chance it could happen. If it does, know that seeking legal guidance is very important, but only after everyone’s medical needs have been properly attended to.