Driving safely is important, but something you should be especially aware of if you have children in the car. Driving is a skill that you learn, but after a while, it becomes second nature, which is where bad habits can creep in and put you and your family at risk. With children in the car, it can be especially challenging, especially if they are over-excited or easily get restless. Whether you are a well-seasoned driver, or just getting started, take long road trips or only drive around your local town, it is never too late to revisit safety tips for driving to keep you, your family, and other road users nice and safe.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe.
Stick to standard rules of driving
Rules such as checking all your mirrors, using your indicators appropriately, removing distractions, not using a mobile device, and leaving enough space when traveling behind cars may seem like small things but can make the world of difference to the safety of everyone in the vehicle. Taking your time to be vigilant while driving will enable you to better spot hazards on the road and keep everyone safe. These small steps can easily be skipped, but it is important to not rush when you are driving, and leave enough time so you don’t feel pressured or have a sense of urgency to get to your destination so that you can focus on staying safe and taking your time.
Explain safety to your children
Children play a major role in the safety of your car journey, which is why many of the safety tips involve them. When they are young, it may be hard for them to understand at first, but the more you can show them, explain it to them and be a good role model for them, they will start to learn and behave safer in the car. Addressing rules such as the importance of wearing a seatbelt and keeping it on at all times, sitting in the back seat, and perhaps with a car seat, and trying to stay calm (and not jumping around) so to not distract the driver. These rules will also help them if they ever share a car with other parents at school, and you can live with greater peace of mind.
Make a schedule
If you are only doing a short journey, it can still be helpful to create a little schedule and share it with your family beforehand, so they can mentally prepare and know what is going on. This can help eliminate distractions and restless behavior on the way. If you are planning a longer route, planning a good schedule is key. A good schedule will include plenty of snacks, drinks, games, and pit stops. Pit stops are great to allow your children to get out, stretch their legs, and release any pent-up energy. This can also make it less distracting, as the demand for food and toilet stops becomes less frequent, as they know the plan. This can make the journey much safer.
Introduce your children to games
Games are a great way to keep your children occupied while in the car, as long as you are able to keep yourself focused on driving. Games that are easy and child-friendly, can be played on their own are ideal for both short and long journeys, for example, I spy, the license plate game, storytime, the alphabet game, twenty questions, name that song, the memory game, would you rather, word association, and many more.
If you find games too distracting while trying to focus on your driving, you could consider bringing books for your children to read, music for them to listen to through headphones, or use iPads with pre-installed games or films that they can watch, again through headphones.
Prepare your car
It is important to prepare your car with supplies for all scenarios. Although we don’t like to think the worst, unfortunately, you never know what could happen. This means it is a good idea to prepare your car with items that will help you in a variety of scenarios, such as an accident, getting lost, or breaking down. Some of the best things you can store in your car are cash, energy bars, a torch, high visibility jacket and sign for the road, contact numbers you may need such as breakdown cover and car accident specialists, family and/or friends.
Everyone in the car should be organized and endeavor to keep the journey as safe as possible.