6 Tips to Help New Moms Avoid Distractions in The Car
Distracted Driving is Dangerous
Too often distracted driving habits are associated with teens, but it’s important to remember that parents are prone to distraction as well. As if raising a baby isn’t hard enough, the rest of life demands we continue to uphold responsibilities. This includes anything from going shopping to doing laundry to making sure the bills are paid. The learning curve isn’t easy and time disappears rapidly. When breaks are few and far between, we try to utilize every minute we get. This includes time in the car. Distractions can come through many forms such as our cellphones, navigational systems, eating and talking.
Six Tips to Avoid Distraction On The Road
1. Text Before Starting Your Journey – If your significant other needs to know you are on the road, you can text them beforehand so they know you’re driving and won’t be able to respond readily. This also clears up possible miscommunication.
2. Take a Minute to Compose – It may sound simple, but take time to mentally prepare before the journey. Take note of your surroundings, your thoughts and worries. Collecting yourself and the awareness that comes with it can help prevent scattered feelings that may impair driving.
3. Make Sure You Aren’t Fatigued -Exhaustion can contribute to lack of awareness. New parents especially can be extremely deprived of sleep. Before driving, make sure you are not too tired to be fully focused on the road. One AAA study showed that people driving on four or five hours have similar crash rates as those driving with blood alcohol content equal to or higher than the legal limit.
4. Keep the Phone in the Backseat – One tip that works well is to automatically leave your phone in the backseat to prevent mindlessly checking it while driving.
5. Set Up Voice Direction – Parents who rely on GPS to get places might be wondering how the backseat cellphone could work. Thankfully, most GPS apps have voice direction options so you can receive directions without looking.
6. Pull Over if it’s an Emergency
There are times when you realize you need to do something while driving. No matter how important it is, it’s not as important as you or your child’s life. If it’s something that needs immediate attention, pull over.
Remember, Your Children Are Watching
It’s important for us to make sure our full attention is on the road because driving distracted not only puts children at risk; it also ingrains bad driving habits. According to EndDD.org, children who grow up with a distracted driver for a dad or mom are 2-4 times more likely to drive distracted as well. This is frightening, because according to the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Database, car accidents have killed more teenagers than anything else.
Seventeen year old Kelsey Raffaele was one such teen who tragically lost her life as a result of distracted driving. In 2010, Kelsey had been driving in Sault Ste. Marie, MI while talking on the phone. The conversation kept her from paying full attention to her surroundings. Kelsey went to pass the car in front of her and slammed into an oncoming car in the other lane. In 2013, Kelsey’s Law was passed in Michigan, which prevents any driver with a level 1 or level 2 license from using a cell phone while driving. The annual Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Scholarship was also founded to raise awareness against texting and driving for Michigan teens and parents.
For the sake of your children, remain vigilant while driving. Even a simple three to four second distraction is all it takes for an accident to occur.