Part of parenting is getting your children to where they need to be. You may drive them to school every day, take them to swim class each weekend and even drive them across the state for summer camp. Some parents joke that they feel like chauffeurs or bus drivers because of how much time they spend transporting their kids to activities and appointments.
Although you may think that safety is your top priority when you are in the car with your children, you may actually be at an increased risk of a crash when transporting your kids somewhere. Many parents fail to recognize how dangerous the distraction that children cause can actually be.
Why are children such a distraction?
Kids of all ages create distracting situations in a vehicle
If you have multiple children, they may pick on one another and get into arguments, forcing you to mediate while navigating heavy traffic. Babies and toddlers may need you to acknowledge them so that they don’t have a meltdown in the back seat. Older children may want to talk about the issues they experienced at school or possibly sing along with you to the radio.
Any of those activities can be a way to turn that drive time into family time, but those behaviors will also decrease how safe you are at the wheel. Parents may do things for their children that they would otherwise never do, like reaching down to the floor or into another seat to grab a toy. As many as 40% of parents admitted to doing that exact thing within the month before the survey, while 70% of parents said they fed their children while driving.
Overall, your risk of getting into a wreck is higher when you have your children in the car because of how they distract you.
How do you minimize child-based distraction?
When you understand that thousands of people die in distraction-related collisions every year, you will obviously want to protect your children from that risk. There are many ways that you can limit the distraction you experience while driving with your children.
For example, you could invest in an in-vehicle entertainment system to keep your children busy. You might separate them so that they can’t annoy one another. Even just recognizing how those split-second decisions, like reaching behind you to grab a toy, might endanger everyone in the vehicle, can help you change those habits to keep safety your top focus.
Learning more about the risks you face out on the road can help keep you and your whole family safer.