Distracted driving is a huge issue in New Mexico, but changing music, putting on makeup and even cell phone use are not the biggest causes. It turns out that driving with kids in the car is actually riskier than many of the other talked-about distractions. If you are a parent this probably does not surprise you. If you have an infant or child in the car, make sure to follow certain safety protocols to decrease the chance of getting in an accident.
According to Parents.com, around 80% of all crashes are due to distracted driving, and many of these accidents result from having kids in the car. In fact, kids are distracting four times as much as adults, while babies are eight times more distracting. Some of the activities that lead to unfocused driving include:
- Handing kids food or drink
- Changing a DVD for the kids to watch
- Holding a bottle for an infant
- Soothing a crying baby
- Reaching for dropped items
- Turning around to interact with children
WTOV discusses some guidelines to help parents drive safer, even when there are needy young ones in the back seat. One is to plan ahead so kids do not get bored on the drive. This may include loading a DVD into the player, providing books or playing car-friendly games.
Planning ahead should also be done in regard to sustenance. If you feed them before you get in the car, this prevents you from having to continuously reach in the back to give them something to eat and drink. You should also put a trash receptacle in the back for garbage, and take frequent breaks on long trips so kids can get out their energy.