Plan ahead to minimize the potential for distractions when driving with kids.

How Kids Can Lead to Distracted Driving

When you think of distracted driving, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? For most people, it is probably a teenager texting or an older person making a call. Yet for many parents, the number one form of distracted driving is not from smartphones — but from their own children.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month—a time to highlight the dangers of distracted driving and learn about how we can avoid engaging in the type of behaviors that lead to thousands of accidents, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways each year. This week, we are talking about something that is familiar to every parent who has ever passed back a sippy cup, started a DVD, or opened up a snack while driving.

As amazing as kids are, they can undoubtedly be a major distraction — particularly in the car. Beyond just talking and asking questions, they often want their parents to help them with something — finding a toy, starting a movie, getting them a snack or a drink, or any number of other tasks. Parents, conditioned to respond to their kids’ needs, often do it automatically, without considering the danger that they are putting themselves, their kids, and other drivers in by doing this.

Taking your eyes off the road and your hands off the steering wheel to attend to your kids for even a moment can lead to an accident — resulting in serious injuries or even death. That is why it is so important that you avoid this type of distracted driving.

When you are driving with kids in the car, there are steps you can take to minimize distractions and increase the chances of arriving safely at your destination. First — and perhaps most importantly — plan ahead. Think about what your kids might need or want in the car, and have it ready for them. This could include snacks, drinks, toys, and/or electronic devices. Have these items easily accessible to them so that they can get them themselves, and so that you aren’t tempted to reach around to try to find these items for them. This is particularly important on long road trips, where your kids’ needs might be the greatest. Second, work on patience with your kids (which we know is easier said than done!). While it may take some time and it definitely won’t work with infants, older kids will eventually learn that when you are driving, you cannot attend to their every need. Instead, they will have to amuse themselves or simply wait until they get to where you are going or when you can stop to have a drink, a snack, or a toy. Third, when necessary, pull over to address your kids’ needs, as long as you can do so safely. This will likely happen more when your kids are young and you need to change a diaper or feed a baby — but it may be necessary when your kids are older and something just cannot wait. Finally, talk to your kids about why you are doing all of this. Remember that one day, these little munchkins will be driving as well, and what you teach them now will have a lasting impact. So when you say to them, “I can’t get it now, I have to keep my eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel,” that will be a lesson that they won’t forget when they are behind the wheel at 16 and beyond.

If you have been involved in an accident, the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker is here to help. With more than 40 years of experience and a 95% success rate, we know how to get results for our clients. Contact our office today at 800-333-0000 or to schedule a free initial consultation. We never charge a fee unless we get money for you!