Rowdy Kids and Distracted Drivers: A Dangerous Mix
To combat the dangers of distracted driving, many states have outlawed the use of cell phones while driving, and a single distracted driving ticket can be enough for your auto insurer to drop your policy. But one of the most common distractions is traveling with kids. In fact, one study found that dealing with kids in the car is 12 times more dangerous than talking on the phone.
How Kids Distract Drivers
A 2013 study from Monash University revealed that use of a hands-free cell phone accounted for only about 1 percent of total driver distraction. Meanwhile, driving with children in the vehicle—even relatively well-behaved children—led drivers to spend more than 3 minutes of every 16-minute trip with their eyes off the road.
Front-seat passengers didn’t have this same effect, leading researchers to hypothesize that the need to use the rear-view mirror (or physically turn around) to interact with kids in the back seat is the key element when it comes to distracted driving.
Ensuring Safety with Kids in the Car
Although traveling with children in the back seat may be unavoidable, there are some ways to make your trip safer.
- Be Prepared
That’s advice from Consumer Reports—anticipate needs such as water bottles, snacks, tissues—and put them in arm’s reach so neither you nor the children must dig around trying to find things when they’re needed.
- Set Ground Rules
Again from Consumer Reports—as soon as children are old enough to understand, set ground rules for acceptable behavior in the car. Make these rules easy to follow and enforce.
- Keep Your Eyes On the Road
Make a concerted effort to keep your eyes forward and on the road at all times. Although it can be tempting to reach into the back seat to break up an altercation or hand a child a bottle, even these momentary diversions can are long enough to cause a serious accident.
- Pull Over If There’s an Issue
It’s always better to add a couple of minutes to your trip by pulling over to a safe spot on the road and continuing only after your kids have calmed down than to attempt to mediate a fight while driving.
By keeping these safety tips in mind, as well as remaining aware of the tremendous impact kid-distracted driving can have on the safety of everyone in your vehicle, you’ll be much better equipped to avoid accidents.
While you may eliminate distractions from your own vehicle and driving, other drivers may not be as responsible—to dire consequences. If you become the victim of distracted driving and need a lawyer’s assistance, contact Zanes Law.