Driving today is leaps and bounds safer than it was just 20 years ago. Modern cars are truly incredible machines, fitted with all kinds of awesome safety features. Even so, there are still a number of risks involved.
Driving with a child onboard requires a whole different approach to safety. You’re no longer responsible solely for your own well-being. Now there’s precious cargo involved. Here are some tips on how to stay safe while driving with your kids in the car.
Use Proper Safety Equipment
Driving with small children requires the use of a kids’ car seat in pretty much every developed country. Car seats for children exist for a reason. They add a whole layer of protection in case of an accident.
If your kids are old enough to ride without a car seat, make sure that they are always wearing a seatbelt no matter how short of a drive. If the car is running, they need to have a seat belt on. It is easy to become complacent, especially if you’re tired and your kids are giving you trouble. Nonetheless, you have to remain vigilant.
Be a Defensive Driver
Defensive driving is something every driver should master, no matter who’s riding in the car with them. Accidents happen even when you do everything right. The entire idea behind defensive driving is to always stay on your toes and anticipate what other drivers are doing.
That is the only way you can truly minimize the risk of being involved in an accident. Experts over at https://www.sherrodandbernard.com/ argue that defensive driving saves lives. Even if you can’t avoid an accident, there is a good chance that you can minimize the extent of the damage simply by anticipating what’s going to happen.
Although this should go without saying, minimizing distractions is an important factor when it comes to staying safe on the road. Whatever you do, don’t text and drive. Do your best to always maintain two hands on the steering wheel and focus on the road.
That being said, your phone isn’t the only thing that can distract you. Playing with the radio is a big one, especially with modern touchscreen infotainment systems where you have to divert your attention from the road to the radio since there’s no tactile feedback.
Additionally, reduce your drowsiness on longer drives by eating ensuring that you’ve had enough sleep. If you’re eating right before or during the drive, don’t overeat and try to eat food that isn’t heavy.
Make Sure Your Car is Safe
External factors are hard to predict, but only you are responsible for your vehicle’s maintenance. Make sure that you’re on top of your maintenance cycles. It’s a good practice to inspect every major system, especially the brakes, every 6 months or so. Don’t skimp on quality brake pads and brake fluid. Also, don’t ignore any issues with your brake system.
Once you’re confident that your car is safe to be on the road, make sure that the interior of the car is also secure. In case of an accident, anything that isn’t secured becomes a projectile. Even the smallest items in your car, such as your sunglasses, can cause a serious injury, especially to a child. This doesn’t mean that you should duct tape everything to the dash, but just be mindful of the items that are inside the passenger cabin
Take Frequent Rests
This tip applies for those long road trips when you’re trying to reach distant destinations in one go. No matter how late you’re running, take 10-minute breaks every few hours. Also, don’t just sit in your car. Get out and walk around. The goal is to get optimal blood flow.
Your kids will appreciate the break as well. Pack enough snacks for everyone, and you’ll have a car full of happy campers.
Keep an Eye On Your Kids
Last but not least, never ever leave children alone in cars, even if you’re just stopping at your local grocery store to grab a few things real quick. Short grocery runs can turn into 20 minute long waits in the line at the register. 20 minutes is a long time to spend in a car, especially during the summer.
In most cases, all you really need is common sense. Pretty much all of these tips we’ve mentioned rely on it. That being said, we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Your job is to ensure that your mistakes don’t harm your children in any way.