With the addition of little ones in your family likely comes the heightened fear of what can happen on the road. Having driven all your life, your focus of worry shifts dramatically from yourself to your children. While driving will always be dangerous, there are a number of ways you can work to minimize the risk of injury in your children, and we’ll discuss how. Below you'll find tips for each stage of family driving.
Selecting a Safer Vehicle
This isn’t an option for everybody, but there have been significant advancements both in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests and the new features available in cars that have been inspired by the growing demand for passenger safety. The more recent the car, the more intelligence it's capable of.
Some of the newer automobiles offer the following safety features:
- Front crash prevention detection: you car’s ability to detect an object in front of your car while moving at a considerable speed. It alerts the driver and stops the vehicle automatically.
- Lane departure warning and assistance: a new feature that detects your car’s drifting out of a lane. It then has the ability to correct the drift and bring your car back into its proper lane.
- Curve adaptive headlights: allows your headlights to automatically detect curves in the road and adjust so that the driver can see better around a turn.
When selecting a new family vehicle, it may not be necessary to purchase the one with the latest and most futuristic features. It can be enough to simply check IIHS safety ratings and for something heavy.
Protecting Young Kids in and Around the Car
From infancy to teenage, there are few ways you as a parent can work to prevent avoidable injury. Because motor vehicles are so heavy, capable of great speeds, and can be quite unpredictable, it's important to monitor your children in and around them.
A few of these guidelines include:
- Make sure to take advantage of the available tips for choosing the correct care seat for your child. Additionally, always follow the manuals when installing and operating the seat.
- Place children younger than 13 years old in the back seats of your vehicle whenever possible.
- Never leave children unattended in or around vehicle.
You can take a number of steps to prevent tragedy in your younger children around cars, but the inevitable time comes when they will be driving themselves. This age requires even more attention.
New Teenage Drivers
Aside from very elderly adults, teenage drivers have the highest likelihood of being involved in a serious accident than all other drivers, and their risk multiplies when driving at night. Most of the injuries in these accidents occur because of driver error, speeding, and not using a seatbelt.
Here are some tips to consider for keeping your teenage driver safe:
- Consider monitoring devices: Some cars made since 2010 offer systems that restrict vehicle speed to 80mph and require seatbelts to be worn before the radio will play.
- Restrict driving at night: Unless absolutely necessary, and until your driver has been properly trained to do so, you may consider disallowing them to drive at night.
- Limit passengers he or she drives: Other teenage passengers can be highly distracting. You may consider limiting your son or daughter’s passengers to friends of theirs you trust or other adults.
- Practice safe driving as an example: It will be easier for your child to incorporate safe driving habits if they’ve seen you use them their whole life. Children start absorbing at an early age.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect about wanting to protect your children on the road is the unavoidable truth that we cannot control everything. It’s then that we focus harder on what we can.