The fact that cell phone use and texting while driving is now the number 1 cause of automobile accidents in the United States has gotten a great deal of attention. Phrases like “It Can Wait” and “Talk, Text, Crash” are becoming familiar as campaigns address this distressing new statistic. But the second most common cause of car accidents may surprise you!
What would you guess the second reason in line for car accidents is? Driving while intoxicated? Running red lights? Nope. How about the ones you love the most: your kids, pets, friends or partner! Driving while distracted by your passengers is number 2 in line for the cause of car accidents. The solution to this problem can seem a lot more complicated too! Talking and texting while driving, well just put the phone away, right?! But cranky kids, a hyper pooch or a heated discussion with a partner might me more of a distraction than you think! What to do??
Educate, Prepare, Be Flexible:
Talk to your family about the importance of minimizing distraction during car trips. A quick talk during dinner while everyone is present is a quick, easy way to talk about everyone doing their part to keep car trips distraction-free. Also, point out dangerous situations when you see them and praise your family for a job well done!
Ex. “Wow, I can see the kids in the car in front of us jumping up and down. That can be very distracting and dangerous. You kids are being so well-behaved! Thank you for helping me drive safely!!
Driving with other passengers, especially a large group can be a challenge. A little preparation can go a long way to buying peace and calm during a car ride. Pack snacks, books, toys for kids and be certain everyone has what they need to be as comfortable and happy as possible during a car ride. Especially during long trips making a few pre-trip preparations can make all the difference! Be sure to secure a pet seat or crate in the vehicle to keep pets secured and safe and yourself from being distracted by their behavior.
Sometimes things just happen and a quick stop in a parking lot to adjust seating arrangements or stow loose items is the safest thing. Getting into a rush and disregarding quick fixes to eliminate distraction can be a costly mistake! Also, regular bathroom breaks and meals on longer trips, particularly with larger groups are always a good idea. Simply keeping everyone comfortable and fed can be a simple way to keep distractions at bay. Allowing plenty of time for your car ride will make some flexibility possible so you can deal with the un-forseen!
Check out this great video from one of our Home & Auto Carriers, Traveler’s. They have some great tips on how to create a system for your family that can help address car ride distractions: