Distracted Driving, Parents and Their Children
Driving Distracted Can Be a Parent Problem
We hear so much about distracted driving and teen drivers, but there is another group of drivers that face a variety of distractions when driving behind the wheel, parents. Parents continually face a variety of distractions including children who are fighting and yelling at each other, a crying baby, fallen objects and many more situations that can lead to parents being distracted while driving.
Driver Distractions That Parents Encounter When Driving
There as several driver distracted that are common to parent drivers. These distractions are:
A. Child passengers. Parents would never deliberately put their children in harms way, but children do create many distractions for drivers. It is suggested that parents who drive with their children can spend up to one-third of their driving dealing with distractions.
B. Multi-tasking behind the wheel. In our busy world, driving and accomplishing other tasks seems to be the norm. Unfortunately parents who drive with their children may be called upon to soothe a child, settle a sibling squabble or reach for a toy that has dropped into the wheel well. Drivers may think that they can complete each of these tasks and operate a motor vehicle but the reality is that is not the case. Humans are programmed to complete one task at a time. Regarding the task of driving, motorists can either focus on driving and have complete attention on the road or attend to their children by pulling off onto the side of the road in a safe spot.
According to the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), the major cause of injury-related death in Canadian children is most likely to be that of a car accident. Young Drivers of Canada suggests the following tips for parents who travel with their children. By following these easy tips, parents can avoid situations that can ultimately lead to a collision and potentially a fatality.
Driving Tips For Parents to Prevent Distracted Driving
1. If in doubt, pull over. Children can be distracted and quite demanding. If you need to assist your child while driving, it can be very easy to pass them their toys, food or drinks. Parent drivers are encouraged to pull over in a safe spot to attend to their children.
2. Slow down. Many parent drivers respond to crying children or squabbling siblings by trying to drive faster to get to their destination quicker. If there are several stops during the journey, parents feel the need to make up the time and to increase the speed seems to be the most logical solution. Unfortunately, adding speed to the mix is not a good driving strategy. It is better to arrive late than not at all.
3. Avoid being tethered to your cellphone. Busy parents rely on their phones as a source of scheduling for their appointments, work commitments, and social engagements. Many parents use their smartphone to check texts, emails and talk on the phone while their children are in the vehicle. Any one of these actions while driving can increase the odds of a collision by a factor of eight. Parents are encouraged to turn off their phones until they arrive at their destination.
4. Avoid multitasking. Driving requires motorists full attention. Using a smartphone or tending to a child’s needs while driving can result in missing important visual information such as stop signs, vehicle brake lights or pedestrians.
As a parent, there are many driving distractions that you face while operating a motor vehicle with your children on board. Young Drivers would like to remind parents to focus on the task of driving if you want to arrive at your destination safely. After all, it’s not just your life at risk but also the life of your children.