Any time you’re driving with your family, keeping them safe is your priority. As you likely know, driving can be unpredictable and it’s often more about the behavior of other drivers rather than yours that leads to a crash.
Knowing this, you can prevent many car accidents by driving especially cautiously. An auto accident will have devastating effects on your spouse and children, so you must be wary of behavior that increases the likelihood of a crash.
With this in mind, a few measures will go a long way toward protecting your family and eliminating the hassle of an accident. We’ll point these out below to help you become a safer driver!
Respect the Speed Limit
A good starting point is to respect the speed limit at all times.
Speeding can be incredibly tempting, especially when you’re an experienced driver and familiar with the roads you’re on. Admittedly, many drivers speed, and seeing this can also make you want to speed.
The issue with speeding is that it directly increases your risk of getting into an accident. You may not sense danger when speeding, but you are traveling at a high speed and this involves several dangerous factors.
First, your car takes longer to respond. Your car physically requires more distance before stopping.
Second, you have less time to respond. You will continue to travel at a heightened speed and hit something if you do not take action to stop it.
Third, your car handles poorly when speeding. Have you ever quickly turned your wheel when driving on the freeway? It dramatically affects your trajectory and can quickly cause you to lose control.
Lastly, crashes involving speed are more impactful. The force involved in a crash is a calculation that involves the weight of your car and how fast you are traveling. Increasing either variable makes the crash more impactful and increases the chance of death.
You want to keep your family safe and this means laying off the gas pedal! Always stick to the speed limit and resist the peer pressure of other drivers that aren’t concerned for your safety.
You must also eliminate any source of distraction while you’re driving.
The top cause of car accidents is distracted driving. This is primarily because smartphones are so common, but other forms of technology are also increasing the overall level of distraction. Modern cars are equipped with safety features that can encourage a false sense of security.
Driving can be boring at times and this makes distractions enticing. Engaging in any form of distraction makes an accident likely because you aren’t focused on the road. This eliminates your ability to detect hazards and reduces your reaction time.
The problem here is that many things can be distracting during a drive with the family. Kids may make a lot of noise, demand your attention, drop things, or make messes that can be hard to ignore.
Take the time to figure out how your family behaves and what might be detracting from your ability to focus on the road. Explain why that behavior is dangerous and how it makes your job of keeping them safe harder.
When you’re able to drive distraction-free, you’re the safest driver you can be and this is what your family deserves.
Another smart approach is to embrace defensive driving.
Defensive driving is all about anticipating potential hazards on the road and driving in ways that minimize your risk of ever encountering an accident. In other words, you drive particularly carefully, constantly scan the road ahead of you, and keep an eye on all other drivers near you.
That may seem like a tall task, but it becomes natural with practice. A cornerstone of defensive driving is avoiding assumptions. Watch and wait for other drivers to behave before making your move.
Another important concept is avoiding unnecessary risks. Don’t place yourself in situations where you must rely on another driver to slow down or don’t have adequate space to stop yourself.
Whenever you’re driving, remember to drive defensively and make your actions calculated. Watch everything around you and be ready to take quick action to avoid an accident.
Understand Best Seating
While it may not help you avoid an accident, understanding the best seating for your children can help protect them during a crash.
Specifically, kids under the age of 13 have special guidelines regarding where they should sit.
Newborns are best suited to a rear-facing car seat until they exceed the weight limit, which is usually around age two or three.
From here, they graduate to a forward-facing car seat until they reach the height and weight limit, which is often age five.
The next stage is a booster seat to help their seat belt fit them properly. They should stay in this seat until they are just about 4’9, which varies depending on the child but 10-12 is a common age range.
At this point, they should remain in the back seat until they are 13 to give them time to grow and add weight.
As you can see, the type of seating that is best for your child varies. Placing them in the correct seat increases their safety in a crash, meaning that you can’t overlook seating choice!
Driving with the family can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to keep everyone safe. It’s entirely up to you to take the necessary steps to avoid an accident.
When driving with kids, there are a few ways to increase your safety. This includes respecting the speed limit, eliminating distractions, and driving defensively. You should also understand the best seating beforehand to keep your children protected!
While you may give your best effort to avoid an accident, another driver’s negligence can still affect you. Should your family be impacted by another driver, find a skilled auto accident attorney to get the justice you deserve!