Driving with Children: The Ultimate Distraction

Although it’s likely coincidental, doesn’t it seem like children get hungry or bored as soon as they get in the car? Whether you’re driving across town or across the country, many parents can identify with the sounds of “I’m hungry,” “I’m bored,” and “Are we there yet?” echoing from the backseat.

As a parent, it may be your instinct to do whatever it takes to placate your upset child, but in the few seconds it takes to reach over to the passenger seat to grab a pacifier for instance, you could cause a car accident.

It may be difficult to resist soothing an upset child in the car immediately, but it’s important to remember that your primary responsibility behind the wheel is to pay attention to the road to ensure that you and your children reach your destination safely.

How to Prepare for Car Trips with Kids

Driving with children can be challenging, but there are steps you can take ahead of time to make your travels as smooth as possible. Keep the following tips in mind before your next trip to help you ensure that it remains safe and accident-free:

  • driving with childrenPack plenty of snacks and keep them within your kids’ reach so that the only thing you need to pay attention to while driving is the road.
  • Along with snacks, it’s a good idea to pack activities or toys in a bag that your children can reach easily during the car ride, especially if you’re going on a long trip. Be sure to bring different items on each trip to prevent your children from getting bored.
  • If you’re traveling with very small children, consider purchasing products that allow you to attach toys and snack cups to your children’s car seats. However, if your child is so young that food still presents a choking hazard, never give them access to it in the car.

Train Your Troops

Regardless of how prepared you are, it’s important to “train” your children on how to properly behave in the car. Making sure they have toys and snacks before leaving is a great start, but they must also understand upfront that if they drop an item and cannot reach it, then it’s gone for the duration of the car ride. Use the following tips before taking off on your next trip to help train your troops:

  • Check in with everyone one last time before leaving to make sure they have everything they need. Music? Snacks? Activities? If you’re ready to head out, remind your children that once you hit the road, they will need to entertain themselves.
  • Don’t give in to distractions. Driving with children is already a distraction, so it’s crucial to ignore any other possible diversions like your cell phone. It’s best to turn off your cell phone during the trip so you aren’t tempted to answer any calls or messages behind the wheel.
  • In some cases, even the best planned trips go awry when children become over tired or if they are simply having an off day. So if the backseat erupts into chaos despite your best efforts, it’s important to remain calm and keep your eyes on the road. If you’re unable to ignore or diffuse the situation safely, it’s best to pull over at your first opportunity and resolve the issue while parked.
  • If you must pull over, make sure it’s in a safe place. The side of the highway, for example, is not the best place to pull over to attempt to calm a child.

Although it’s human nature to calm an upset child, it’s important to always remind yourself that your responsibility as a driver is to get everyone to your destination safely. Remembering your role and planning ahead for car rides with children will help limit distractions and reduce the chances of an auto accident, ensuring that you and your loved ones remain safe on the road.

You will do whatever it takes to protect your family, so in the event of an accident, it’s important to ensure that you have adequate auto insurance coverage. To review your existing coverage or to get a free quote for auto insurance in Hillsborough, N.H. and the surrounding New Hampshire communities, please call us today at 603-464-3422 or submit our online quote request form.

At Knapton, Reade & Woods, protecting you on the road is our priority. For additional safety tips and useful resources, please read our blog, or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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