Eighty-three percent of teens say their parents engage in unsafe driving behavior with them in the car, according to a survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Of the teens surveyed, 60 percent report asking parents to stop their dangerous driving habits like texting while driving.
While texting tops the list for dangerous driving habits, there are other important things to be aware of while driving with your kids, from car maintenance to highlighting teachable moments. Whether you hope to impart safe driving skills or want to improve your own, there are ways to increase awareness while on the road. Here are a few things to keep in mind while driving with your kids.
Quality Tires Save Lives
Sure, you know that the the maintenance of components like the brakes and steering are crucial to safe driving. But the quality of your tires and how you care for them can make a bigger impact than you may think. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, maintaining good tire pressure can save lives, gas and liability. Under inflating your tires can also decrease your fuel efficiency and add to environmental pollution and a poor future climate for your children.
Regularly check your tire pressure and keep the tires rotated and balanced according to your car manufacturer’s recommendations. Choosing the right tires to begin with can make an impact on your family’s safety and the longevity and durability of your tires. For example, TireBuyer offers a large selection of Continental tires with year-round traction, fuel efficient performance and safety.
Distracted Driving goes Beyond Texting
According to Esurance, there are three types of distracted driving, including visual, cognitive and manual. Cognitive distractions happen when a driver’s mind isn’t focused on the road and can even happen when being preoccupied by personal issues or talking to another passenger. Visual distractions include looking at anything other than the road like tinkering with electronic devices or looking in the back seat to address your kids. A manual distraction is when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel to eat or drink, dig through a purse or to text.
It’s tough not to look back at your kids when they need something or take your hand off the wheel to adjust your seat belt. But you can control keeping your phone off and put away to stop yourself from texting or taking an important call. You can also set an example for your kids by limiting your distractions as much as possible and discussing what distracted driving means, why not to do it, and the consequences involved. The more your kids understand what distracted driving is and why it’s dangerous, the more likely they are to take it seriously.
Driving is a Teachable Moment
Every time you get behind the wheel with your kids in tow is a teachable moment. Explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, like suddenly braking to avoid an animal in the road, or slowing down in the rain. Admit when you’ve been careless while driving or made a mistake so your see you taking accountability and responsibility for your actions. The more you model the behavior you want your kids’ to emulate behind the wheel, the more likely they are to follow your lead.