You do your best to avoid distracted driving, so you turn down the radio, eat before you go and put your smartphone on mute. What can you do about the kids? Studies have shown that parents are at a distinct disadvantage out there on the roads when their kids are in the car, because kids can be 12 times more distracting than even talking on a phone.
So what’s a parent to do? You can’t exactly put the kids in their seats and demand total silence on a car trip, but you can plan ahead. Here are some tips that may help.
Napping, snacking and beating boredom
Essentially, you can take a strategic approach to the situation by putting everything your kids may need during the trip within reach. This means:
- Planning for naps: Make sure each child has a small pillow, a blanket and their favorite stuffed animal so that they can get as comfortable as possible and sleep when they want. That’s a great way for them to spend the car ride, and it’s the least distracting for you.
- Providing snacks: Since you can almost count on the fact that at least one kid will forget to eat before you go or another will get hungry before the trip is over, make sure that you have plenty of kid-friendly snacks in the car. Water bottles with secure tops should be in easy reach, and make sure that all the snacks are easy for kids to open.
- Pack plenty of entertainment: Books and electronics are the easiest to pack – and they both can provide hours of entertainment for your kids. If you let the kids download a movie or game for the ride, just make sure they have headphones so that you aren’t distracted by the noise.
One out of every five parents will openly admit that they’ve nearly been in a crash because their child distracted them at a critical moment. If you do end up in a collision with a harried parent, make sure that you fully understand your right to compensation for your losses.