By Jennifer Dawson, image credit Kevin Laminto
Our children are central to our lives, they bring joy and laughter for us. However, 60% of those questioned said that their children were the biggest source of distraction when they were driving, and driving distractions can be very dangerous for everyone involved. We all want to keep our loved ones safe, and journeys should be fun for everyone; what then can we do to avoid our families becoming statistics too?
Define The Problem
It is important to stay focused on the road, and avoid distractions such as mobile phone use, changing the radio station or dealing with the children. Even being in the wrong mood can be a source of distraction when driving. Safety aside, rules 149 and 150 of the Highway Code clearly state that drivers should avoid distractions when driving.
Use The Help At Hand
If you are not driving alone, the easiest solution is that the driver does nothing but the driving. This may sound terribly unfair for the passenger, who now has to juggle writing texts, adjusting the radio, setting the Sat Nav, and keeping the kids quiet. It is unfair, until you think about it. Drivers make imperceptible calculations every millisecond. They adjust their speed, the distance to the car in front, adjust for the wind and camber of the road, and try to guess what other road users are doing. Every moment behind the wheel is filled with more delicate and intricate tasks than any passenger will carry out in a lifetime of driving.
Go Hands Free
If you drive alone it is important to adjust the way things are done. Increasingly, our world is becoming hands-free which helps to reduce the distractions:
Dashboard mounted controls for the radio enable you to take your hands off the wheel and look away from the road.
Voice control on sat navs allow you to make adjustments without pretending you are able to type complicated addresses whilst steering with your knees.
Bluetooth kits can turn your whole car into a voice controlled sat nav.
Last Resort – Video Games
The gaming systems and in-car DVDs should be a last resort as both can become distractions for the driver. Children who can get entertainment from simply taking in their journey are healthier than those who cannot. Boredom is good for children as it spurs them to be more creative. It may mean you’ll have to pull over a few times, but once this has become the routine children will forget it was any other way.
Drivers need to be mindful of their driving, and children need to learn to be mindful in general. Keep everything simple and your journey will be safe.