While transporting passengers of any age, you, drivers are responsible for doing all they can to make sure passengers are safe. So, when you drive with children, who may be more unpredictable than older passengers, it’s important to strengthen the precautions you take.
Keeping your habits in check and the needs of your children in mind can help you be more equipped to dodge a hazard on the road. It may also lessen injuries if you do become a car crash victim.
Be proactive about distractions
One way to make sure you keep a sharp focus on the road is by cutting out potential distractions. Don’t use your time behind the wheel to multitask. For example, don’t eat, text, or shuffle through music selections when you should be driving. These tasks may be easy to complete, but anything that takes your attention away from the road, even slightly, can be dangerous.
Keep in mind that young and old children alike can cause distractions, so it’s also essential to make sure everyone in your car keeps a reasonable volume and isn’t doing anything to block your view of the road. Try packing age appropriate toys and books or have your teens that are old enough to sit in the front seat help you navigate the route.
Follow car seat laws
Seat belts alone can save lives, and as an added layer of protection, you should follow all state laws regarding car seats. Last year, in attempt to lower the amount of young, fatal car accident victims, state lawmakers approved changes to the car seat laws.
In case you are unaware, babies under the age of 2 must use rear-facing car seat. Once a child reaches the age of 2 and no longer fits in their rear-facing seat, they must use a front-facing car seat with a harness until they are 4 years old. Between ages 4 and 9, children must use a booster sear with a lap and shoulder belt. Children between ages 9 and 12 may also need to use a booster seat, if their knees don’t bend over the seat and the seat belt lays against their neck. Also, all children 13 and under should only sit in the rear seat
If a police officer pulls you over and notices you aren’t following these rules, then you may face a fine. But, more importantly, if you or your children don’t buckle up, you may increase your chance of falling out of the vehicle during a car accident.
Regroup when necessary
When you feel challenged by a distraction, a rowdy child, weather conditions or another perceived danger, you should find a shoulder or parking lot nearby to rest and regroup. This can help protect everyone on the road.