The Dangers of Driving with Screaming and Disruptive Kids and What You Can Do
“I’m hungry.” “I’m bored.” “He’s looking at me.” Driving with kids is truly an exercise in skill and patience, and while parents know all too well how disruptive children can be, they often do not think of their kids as dangerous distractions. Research suggests that parents need to rethink how they handle interruptions in the car.
According to Australian researchers, children are 12 times more distracting to a driver than cell phones. In that study, the average parent took their eyes off the road for three minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute trip. The most frequent types of distractions were:
- turning to look at a child in the back seat or watching the rear-view mirror (76.4%)
- talking with a child (16%);
- assisting a child (7%); and
- playing with a child (1%).
Tips for Safer, Distraction-Free Drives
Driving with children is a part of daily life for most families, so use the following tips to make that drive safer and more enjoyable for your family.
- Food. Avoid the need to hand out snacks mid-drive by making sure everyone’s stomachs are full before you head out. That includes you too—eating and drinking while driving is another avoidable distraction. No time to eat before you leave? Pack snacks and drinks that are easy to eat and give them to your children immediately when you put them in the car so they will be accessible throughout your trip.
- Preparation is key. Plan ahead by making sure all necessary items are easily within reach. Use straps or fasteners to keep infant toys and pacifiers safely attached to your child’s car seat. Have books and places to put garbage within reach of older children.
- Pull over. Parents cannot anticipate or address all needs while driving so it may be necessary to pull over. Parents should only pull over when needed and in a safe place. Rest stops or parking lots are a better choice than the side of the highway.
- Focus on the road. Today’s parents are busier than ever. While it may seem like a good idea to multitask, all tasks unrelated to driving should wait. If you absolutely cannot restrain yourself from using your phone, try putting it in the backseat or turning it off. Remind yourself of what is truly important—responding to that email or the safety of your family.
- Make them wait. When all else fails, make them wait. You might have to sit through tantrums and tears, but that is a small price to pay for arriving safely at your destination.
If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, trust the caring and experienced staff at the Kelly Law Team to analyze your case, explain your options and maximize your recovery. Contact us at 602-283-4122 for a free consultation.