Be honest — you’re probably not a perfect driver who follows every single law and goes the speed limit exactly every time you get behind the wheel. Really though, who is? Everyone has been guilty at least once in their lives of going above the speed limit, turning on red when you’re not supposed to, merging lanes without your turn signal, or generally not paying attention. You’re a human being and as the saying goes, you’re not perfect.
Yet, when you introduce a new factor into your driving, such as your child, then you might find yourself being as cautious and law-abiding a driver as you’ve ever been. If you’ve never had a child ride in your vehicle and you’re expecting one to be very soon, here are a few tips to help you out.
While you don’t want to think about any bad things happening, you can’t pretend that they never will. Annually, there are roughly six million car accidents in the United States alone, and convincing yourself that you’ll never be in one is dangerous. Instead of pretending you’re untouchable now that you have a baby on board, do your best to avoid any incidents by active means. If you typically speed, try going the posted speed limits. If you do your makeup or shave your beard while driving when you’re pressed for time, wake up a little earlier to make sure you can do that at home. Most importantly, if you notoriously text and drive, leave the cell phone turned off when you get in the car. In 2015 alone, distracted driving caused 3,477 fatalities. Don’t let your old habits make it unsafe for you to drive your child.
Even if you booted your poor driving habits, there are always a few that slip through the cracks. The biggest one that people tend to overlook is buckling their seat belt. Yes, it can save your life in an accident. Yet, you might be surprised at the overwhelming number of people who still don’t use their seat belts. There are more than 37,000 deaths that result from motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. alone each year. Not only is not using your seatbelt a bad habit for your own safety, but if you forget to buckle yourself then there’s a good chance you might forget to buckle your child. Getting yourself into the habit can be a great way to help keep your children safe and one day teach them how to be safe while driving themselves.
Automobiles and child safety have both come a long way in the past decade alone and your child is probably much safer now in a vehicle than they have ever been. However, when you don’t utilize those safety measures or aren’t sure how they operate, then you’re putting your child at risk. Child-safety seats are incredibly important for any young child and it’s equally important that you, as a parent, know how to safely operate them. That comes down to picking the right type of car seat for your child and installing it correctly. Car seats are specific to the size of your child and their stage in life, so it’s important to pick one that is appropriate.
Despite how quickly you think you can run an errand while you leave your baby in the car, it’s never a good idea. You may think it’s not that hot outside or not that cold but children’s bodies aren’t able to handle the extreme temperatures that an adult’s can. That means just a few short minutes could be all it takes to do irreversible damage. According to noheatstroke.org, there have been 767 child deaths due to vehicular heatstroke since 1998 and all of them could have been prevented. Make sure you always take your child with you any time you leave the car.
No matter how well you think your driving is, there are always ways to improve. Not to mention that almost a third of all highway fatalities are related to roadside hazards, inadequate road designs, or poor road conditions. In other words, not every aspect of driving is under your control, so it’s best to do what you can to protect you and your child when you get behind the wheel.