Due to ignorance, many endanger their lives and others daily and one of them is failing to follow road safety rules. For instance, many road users use their phones while driving, making them usually preoccupied with their phones or have their earpieces on instead of paying close attention to their surroundings, which has resulted in several accidents.
In some cases, parents drive with their children on their laps or place them between their bodies and the steering wheel. Or a child is left unguarded in the passenger seat in the car which is very dangerous and can as well put other road users or children in danger.
So now these are the precautions you must take to keep yourself and your family safe while driving.
1. Avoid distractions when driving: Do not text and drive because driving and texting do not go together. Texting while driving or using headphones or earpieces with loud music while driving or crossing the street is both distracting and can lead to "divided attention." In this case, it is easy to overlook details if you are not looking for them.
2. Never Forget to Buckle Up: It is good to get the car seats that are appropriate for the kids, but it is better to never forget to buckle them up. All the car seats, booster and accessories will be futile if you fail to tether and latch the car seats while driving with children. Even if they are teenagers, they must use the seatbelt. Consider this to be Course 101 of children’s safety while driving.
3. Do not leave children alone in the car as inadvertently locking a child in a car can dangerously result in suffocation. Be cautious about leaving children alone in cars or having them out of sight as kidnappings are more common these days.
4. Back seats are reserved for children: It is not permitted for parents to place their children on their laps in between the steering wheel in the front seat, Children under the age of 12 should not ride in the front seat, even if they are wearing seat belts. "The back seat is the safest place for children," almost every car seat recommendation says. In addition, "never use a rear-facing child seat in the front."
Children's safety is jeopardized if airbags explode because their brains have not developed sufficiently to withstand the impact of such explosions. If you are hit from behind by a car, the child may hit his or her head on the dashboard or even the windscreen.
5. Children can be very playful and try out various stunts which is why it is essential to Close your car windows while driving, but if the car A/C is not turned on, or not functional, do not fully close the windows. Make sure there is enough space to prevent the child from poking his or her head out or waving his or her hands outside. Always remember to use a child door lock.
6. Keep Children Occupied While Driving: Children become restless when they don’t have anything to do during a trip. Their boredom could lead to them distracting you. Therefore, it is important to keep their minds occupied as you drive. Now how do you intend to do that?
You could engage them in a conversation for such a trip. If you are picking them up from school or taking them to school, you could ask about their studies, their friends or how their day went. You could also talk to them about the importance of safe driving, drawing examples from the things that you could find as you drive to your destination.
7. Take Care of Children’s Special Needs: Children with special needs may require more attention to get them calm and collected during a trip. Kids on the autism spectrum who experience sensory difficulties could be made comfortable by wearing headphones or earplugs during the course of the road trip. This could help diminish the sound that comes with being on the road, such as sirens and noisy traffic situations.
Driving with children with special needs could be fun if you know what triggers them and how to avoid these things while driving. If the children have sensory issues, try reducing the direct contact between the seatbelt or the harness and their skin.
Use the following 'Child on Board' warnings to alert emergency responders to the presence of a baby or baby with special needs like autism etc. In the event of an accident, the sign is also used to notify other vehicles as to why the driver may be driving slowly.
8. Steady Hands and Feet:If you’re not used to driving smoothly, then as a parent, it’s time to get used to it. Try to smoothen your inputs on the steering wheel, throttle, and brake pedals. Don’t jerk the wheel, stomp on the pedal, and look at the road ahead for any hazards that you can anticipate. Not only do your inputs have to be smooth, but you have to see further down the road to anticipate your stops.
9. Take Regular Breaks During Long Trips: Regular breaks while driving with children could help calm them down. Remember, children are more likely to distract you when they are bored or hungry. Take regular stops for them to urinate, use the rest-room or for them to calm down.
If they are misbehaving or fighting in the car, this is the time to take that regular break to address them. Remind them of how their noise isn’t good for your concentration and make them promise to behave well before you embark on the road again. These breaks could also help you relax your mind from driving.
10. Get Them Out of the Car Safely: The safety of children while driving does not end with parking your car at the destination. You need to also ensure that they get out safely, to the school, or into the house, without issues.Instruct them to wait while you help them unbuckle their seatbelt once you have arrived at your destination. Help them out of the car and never leave them alone inside the car.
It is never too expensive to be cautious, but being negligent can be costly. Follow these steps to keep your children and yourself safe while driving.
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