Spring is finally here! And with warmer weather comes outdoor barbecues, baseball games and family road trips.
When planning a family road trip, a lot of thought is typically put into the final destination, whether that’s the beach, a favorite camping spot or even the park down the street. But the method of getting to that destination is often taken for granted.
The truth is, driving with children in the car can sometimes be difficult. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that the whole family arrives safely to its next road trip destination.
Reduce the possibility for distractions
When the whole family is in the car, the possibility of becoming distracted increases. Consider making your road trips during the night so that children are more likely to fall asleep.
If traveling during the night is not an option, provide children with toys and games that will keep them occupied, but ensure that these are securely fastened in the back seat so you won’t need to reach or look backwards while driving.
And finally, don’t forget to turn your phone off, put it into silent mode or pack it in the cargo area of your vehicle to avoid being distracted.
Make sure the whole family is seated safely and comfortably
Make it a point to not shift out of park until everyone is buckled in. All adults in the vehicle should be buckled using standard seat belts, and children should be seated in appropriate car seats or booster seats based on their age or size. This Consumer Reports guide can be used to help find the right car seat for your child.
When buckling up, don’t forget the family pet! If your furry friend is traveling with you, they should be properly secured for their safety, and to prevent them from becoming a distraction to the driver.
Share the rules
Children should be taught that driving is serious business, so it’s important to stay calm and quiet when riding in the car. Also, be sure to teach kids not to play in or around cars, especially in the front or back.
Pullover if unavoidable distractions occur
Sometimes, distractions are unavoidable. If children are crying or are becoming antsy, pullover to a safe place like a parking lot to pacify the situation.
Pulling over may cause a slight delay in reaching your destination, but this option is much safer than trying to control the issue while the vehicle is in motion.
It might seem like no big deal to run into the store for two minutes and grab something, but leaving kids alone in the car—even for a few minutes—can be very dangerous. Take the time to bring them in with you.
Allow for extra time when planning your trip
Some states issue higher fines and greater consequences when drivers are caught speeding or driving unsafely with children in their vehicle.
So, be sure to allow for extra time when planning your trip. Then, when unavoidable delays caused by traffic or construction occur, you will not feel the need to speed or drive unsafely to make up for lost time.
Get out and stretch every few hours
Long trips can be exhausting for adults and for children. Make sure to stop frequently to use the bathroom and stretch. This breaks up the drive, and can help to prevent children from becoming rambunctious.