Baby on Board: Tips for Pregnant DriversMay 3, 2011 | in Defensive Driving Tips
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, car safety for expectant mothers is an important (albeit controversial) topic to consider. We recently talked about the importance of child passenger safety in our car seat selection post — Child Safety Seat Guidelines Every Parent Should Know, but the safety precautions should begin even before the baby is born.
The controversial aspect of this topic centers on the potentially harmful impact of airbags to both mother and fetus in the event of an accident. In spite of concerns, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists have set the record straight by recommending that mothers-to-be use vehicles with fully operational airbags. Air bags, combined with the following pregnancy driving tips are the best option for maximizing safety in the event of an accident:
· Buckle up, even though it can be uncomfortable. Pregnant women should wear the standard three-point safety belt at all times in a moving vehicle. It is important to situate the belt to sit low and snug on the abdomen to achieve the most safety benefits.
· Swap your small sports car for a roomier SUV or sedan during pregnancy. Driving a vehicle with spacious front seats will give you room to be both comfortable and safe.
· Continue to make room and you grow bigger. You will need to continually adjust the seats to maximize the amount of space between your belly and the steering wheel to ensure the airbags will have room to expand in the event of an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that your breast bone be at least 10 inches away from the dashboard or steering wheel at all times.
· Opt for being the passenger, when possible. The safest place for anyone to sit in a motor vehicle is buckled in the rear seat of the car, so claim this seat when you are a pregnant passenger.
· Avoid driving in any hazardous conditions or bad weather. This rule applies to anyone, but pregnant drivers should be extra careful.
If at any point in your pregnancy you feel uncomfortable behind the wheel, you should let others drive or opt for alternative means of transportation. You can always resume your normal driving schedule post-pregnancy, but there is no harm in being extra-cautious during those important nine months.
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