The leading cause of death in children is motor vehicle accidents.
In 2016, 723 children died as a result of a vehicle accident and more than 128,000 were injured. When you’re driving with your children you should always drive as safely as possible.
Driving with kids can be a major distraction. To make sure you drive safely, keep reading to discover car accident prevention tips and consider retaking some driving lessons.
1. Eliminate Distractions
The number one tip for avoiding bad car wrecks is eliminating distractions.
Most people know to put away their cell phones and skip the drive-thru while transporting their children. But, the children themselves can be just as distracting.
We know children like to talk but teach your children that driving is a quiet time. Encourage them to hold their questions and comments until you get to a destination. If your child can write, keep a notebook in the car for them to record these thoughts so they don’t feel ignored while in the car.
And if your children are older, have them listen to music or videos with headphones.
The two seconds you take your eyes off the road to look at them while talking is enough time to cause a deathly mistake.
2. Never Drive Tired
Experts say that driving tired is just as dangerous as driving drunk.
We know that you would never get behind the wheel with your children while drunk — so why would you do it while tired? When you’re tired, your reaction time, decision-making skills, depth perception, and more are impacted.
Instead of driving while tired, call on a friend or family member. Explain your issue and express how you’re concerned about the safety of your children. We bet you have a support system ready to step in and offer a ride!
3. Maintain Your Vehicle
Another great tip to avoid car crashing is properly maintaining your vehicle.
Get in the habit of servicing your car at least once a year. This involves taking your vehicle to your preferred mechanic and having them check that everything is operating as it should. Odds are, they’ll catch a serious issue with your car before you do.
By staying on top of vehicle maintenance, you lower the chances of a malfunction leaving you stranded or in an accident.
4. Drive Defensively
There are many things you can do to make sure you’re driving as safely as possible — but what about all the other drivers on the road?
You can only control your own driving ability, but there are a few things you can do to drive defensively. Always be aware of the vehicles around you and expect the worst from them. If you’re driving near a car that you notice exhibiting dangerous behavior, either slow down or change your direction of travel to avoid them.
5. Keep Proper Distance
Another tip for driving defensively is to always keep a proper distance.
Instead of trying to calculate the physical distance between you and a vehicle, use the two-second rule. Once the vehicle in front of you passes a sign or landmark, you should pass that same marker at least two seconds after them. If you pass quicker than that, you’re traveling too close.
By keeping the proper distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, you ensure your ability to stop quickly and avoid a rear-end collision.
6. Always Look Again
A second glance can be all that stands between you and your children ending up in a vehicle accident.
Take seconds to look again whenever you come to an intersection. Even if you have the green light or the right-of-way at a stop sign, you never know if other drivers on the road are paying attention or following the law. If a vehicle looks like they may not be slowing down, just wait to make sure — we promise it’s better to get to your destination late than in an ambulance.
We also suggest waiting a few seconds after your light turns green before proceeding through an intersection. Drivers often run red lights when in a hurry or distracted.
7. Pay Special Attention in School Zones
Darting children on crosswalks, pick-up lines, and school buses are all sources of danger opportunities in school zones. There are reasons that school zones have lower speed limits — because they’re often unpredictable.
If you’re dropping your kids off or picking them up from school, be extra careful when driving. Use all the above tips and put your mom brain on high-alert. Even though it may seem like any other Tuesday drop-off, you never know what’s going to happen.
Always keep an eye on children walking near or around your vehicle. And never, ever drive around a school bus or a stopped vehicle dropping off children. Wait the extra few seconds it takes for the vehicle to begin moving to ensure the safety of everyone around you.
Also, talk to your children about pedestrian safety. Teach them to always look both ways and to never play near a roadway.
More Mom Tips Beyond Accident Prevention
With these tips, you’re well on your way to accident prevention.
But even the most cautious driver can still find themselves in a wreck. To protect against the uncertainty of motor vehicles, make sure that your child is always properly restrained.
Bookmark Healthy Moms Magazine for all the best parenting and child health content. Be a part of our online community for moms just like you.