It is not only distractions from your mobile or sat which can cause road accidents, but those from passengers too. Children rarely enjoy long car journeys and cramped conditions can easily result in bickering, removal of seat belts and other actions you’ll feel compelled, as a parent, to attend to. However, taking your eyes off the road even momentarily could result in loss of control and a serious accident.
Keeping kids entertained and happy whilst on a long car journey is key in preventing accidents. However, there are other things to bear in mind in order to stay safe on the road.
Children will have little concept of what it’s like to drive, so are unaware of the dangers their behaviour as passengers could cause. Before you embark on a long car journey, why not allow them to sit in the driver’s seat, and explain the process involved in driving and controlling a car? Point out the steering wheel, gear box and pedals, as well as your music system, sat nav and any other tech you may have. Understanding that driving involves multi-tasking should give them some appreciation of the focus and calm which is essential for road safety.
Set Your Levels
Help keep noise to a low by setting ‘levels’ prior to your journey. Set a scale of 1 to 5 in which 1 is acceptable and 5 will result in pulling the car over. En route, show your appreciation when they are quiet by reminding them of their low ‘level’ and, if things get noisy, avoid shouting and refer back to the set ‘levels.’
Involve your kids in the planning stages of your journey to make them feel more involved in your trip. Giving them an indication of the distance you’ll travel and the time needed will hopefully cut down on those ‘are we nearly there yet?’ questions. This also provides a great distraction in the car: equip each child with a printed out map and mark stop-off points along the way, so they can track progress and know when to expect breaks.
Car games and activities are essential to keep kids’ minds focused and prevent squabbles. Games like eye spy and spot bingo, as well as storytapes and singing songs all work well. If you regularly take long journeys with the kids, it may be worth splashing out on a Leapfrog Leappad, or similar educational games console.
Prepare in advance, plan together and keep kids entertained to avoid road traffic accidents. And remember – taking regular breaks are not only for your kids, but for you to take a rest too!