A new category for distracted driving.

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in My Kind of Driving

With all the research and focus on driving distracted by using electronic devices, one category has been left virtually untouched: Driving with children.

It’s not just the teen with the cell phone we need to worry about, but also the minivan two lanes over. Unless your children were dropped off by the “Well Behaved Fairy”, every parent has had a road trip with an unruly child.

Distracted driving is thought to be the cause of 80% of all crashes. Parents of young children are especially vulnerable to distractions. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that children are about four times as distracting to drivers as adult passengers are, while babies make it eight times harder to concentrate. Drivers with children passengers have to referee backseat battles, soothe the crier, entertain the screamer, and deflect toys by the thrower all while navigating through miles of traffic.

Parents magazine has an amazing article the gives driver safety tips for mature driving with children:

1) Feed the kids a meal or snack before leaving. Quieting the troops with endless juice boxes encourages them to make food demands in the car – which you can’t safely accommodate.

 

2) Feed yourself at home too. Drinking and eating while driving are linked to higher crash rates.

3) Before getting in the car, turn off your cell phone and place it out of your reach. If you must keep it on, use ring-tones to identify the few calls you’ll answer: for example, ones from the sitter or your kids. Tell everyone else you won’t answer when you’re behind the wheel.

I am still researching how to deal with children who don’t like carseats; I’ll keep you posted.

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