Distracted driving doesn’t just mean texting and driving. Being distracted is when you engage in anything other than driving. If you’re a parent, the biggest distraction of all are your kids in the backseat.
Australian research shows that having a kid in your car is 12 times more distracting than texting. Parents engage in fights between siblings, calming fussy babies, and tending to whatever their child may need. Oftentimes, the rearview mirror in a parents car is pointing at the children and not the road.
On average parents take their eyes off the road for 3 minutes and 2 seconds during a 16 minute drive, which means throughout a 3 hour road trip, your eyes won’t be on the road for a staggering 34 minutes, and 15 seconds.
Having children in the car with you means you will be distracted, but there are ways to reduce how often you take your attention off the road.
1. Be Prepared
Have what you need ready in the front seat with you to avoid reaching into the backseat, and keep your eyes forward. Anticipate what your children might need.
2. Make Them Wait
Make your children wait for what they ask for if possible. Either until the next stop, the destination, or just until you pull over. If your children are old enough, try to explain to them the dangers of taking your eyes off the road to help them understand you are making them wait for their safety, and not as a punishment.
3. Distract Your Children
Long road trips are hard for kids, and you can’t be distracted by whining children for the whole trip. Set some ground rules, and be prepared with fun, engaging things to do during the drive. Planning ahead may be tiresome, but it will help you in the long run.
Here are some ideas for long road trips that may help keep your children occupied so you can keep them safe.
- Travel Binders – Including bingo, mazes, colouring, crosswords, and a pencil case, all in one place so they rely on you less.
- Scavenger Hunt – Make a list of things for the kids to find. ( yellow car, green mailbox, Quebec license plate, etc.)
- Magnet Games – Keep them occupied with travel chess, checkers, battleship, snakes and ladders, etc.)
- Old Fashioned Card Games – Have a classic deck of cards, uno, spot it, even Mad Libs. Make sure to provide a lap table, or a sheet pan for a hard surface to play on.
- Toys – A little bucket of toys doesn’t just have to be for the little kids, you can have Rubix Cubes, puzzle games, and even silly putty for your older children to tinker with.
- Books – Even if your children aren’t big readers, providing a fun audiobook will be a nice quiet time for the while family to enjoy.
As difficult as it may be, keep your focus on the road to protect your family.
Cantini Law Group has over 30 years of experience advocating for clients who have suffered injuries following a motor vehicle accident. With 5 locations serving NS, NB, and PEI, contact Cantini for a free consultation at 1-844-CANTINI (226-8464).