Most likely you have already heard about the dangers of texting or talking on the phone while driving, but do you know there are many other ways a driver can become distracted? For example, if you are a parent or often drive with children, you may be unintentionally putting yourself and your children at risk on the road if you allow yourself to become distracted by your children.
It can be difficult to prevent your children from becoming driving distractions. Maybe you have children that fight with each other in the car, or you have a young child who drops a bottle or a favorite toy. Maybe your kids are always running late, so breakfast is eaten in the car on the way to school. Whatever your kids may be doing, if it causes you to take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the task of driving, it is a dangerous distraction.
Tips to consider:
- Feed your children and yourself before driving. Do not distribute food while you are driving because this only encourages additional distractions like opening packages and picking up dropped items. If you allow yourself to eat and drive, the food itself might take your attention off driving.
- Set rules for your children that the car is a food and argument free zone, and explain to them that when you are driving you must focus on keeping everyone in the car safe.
- Avoid touching any distracting devices while you are driving. This includes cell phones, GPS devices and DVD players. It also includes excessively changing the radio station or switching CDs. If you must interact with one of these devices, find a safe place to pull over before using it.
- If you are in a situation when you cannot put your child's needs on hold, you should pull over to a safe place before tending to him or her.
Thousands of people die in vehicle crashes each year because of distracted driving. By planning ahead and putting rules in place, you can avoid many distractions your children may cause. Your ability to focus on the road will help keep your children and yourself safe.