By now, you’ve probably heard about the dangers of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,477 lives in 2015 alone.” So, what counts as distracted driving?
“Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system – anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving,” according to the NHTSA.
If you’re a parent, or if you’re a babysitter who drives children around, we want to discuss the issue of children being a serious driving distraction. According to an article published by ABC News, “one of the worst distractions might be something parents do every day: driving with kids in the backseat of the car.
Study Finds Kids 12 Times More Distracting
“In a first-of-its-kind study, Australian researchers found that children are 12 times more distracting to the driver than talking on a cell phone while at the wheel,” reported ABC. The study found that on average, parents take their eyes off the road for nearly three-and-a-half minutes during a trip that lasts 16 minutes.
Common kid-related distractions faced by parents:
- Crying babies
- Screaming toddlers
- Children who are fighting
- Children asking for snacks
- Children spilling drinks in the vehicle
- Children dropping toys and asking for them
- Children throwing objects into the front seat
- Teenagers who are rowdy in the backseat
If you have found driving with children to be stressful, you are not alone. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid driving with children, though we can minimize trips as much as possible by asking our spouse, friends or family members to watch our children while running errands. Of course, for some parents, this just isn’t an option.
To enhance safety while driving with children you can:
- Schedule trips during naptime so your child sleeps.
- Don’t let small children eat solids while you drive as this increases the chance of choking while you’re on the road.
- Make a rule that you do not pick up dropped items while behind the wheel.
- Feed your children before you leave the house.
- If you have children in diapers, make sure they’re changed and dry before heading out the door.
- Consider investing in a portable DVD player or outfitting your vehicle with one.
- Never ever text while driving, especially when your kids are in the car.