Avoid Cute and Cuddly Distractions
Children and pets can take your focus off the road.
In 2017, approximately 285,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted driving. Cell phones aren’t the only risk—children and pets can also distract you.
Did you know that driving with children is 12 times more dangerous than talking on the phone? One study observed that parents with children in the car had their eyes off the road about a fifth of the time during a 16-minute trip! When you turn around to check on the kids, hand them food or play around, your attention is diverted from the road.
Many owners regularly drive with their pets and are distracted by petting, feeding and playing with the animals—some even hold their pets in their laps while driving.
Though it can be hard to pull your attention away from your child or pet while driving, doing so is necessary for their safety and that of other drivers. Use these tips to avoid distracted driving:
- Secure children properly in the backseat in a position visible from the rearview mirror.
- Use a pet restraint or carrier.
- Feed children and pets before or after the trip.
- Suggest activities for your child, such as watching a DVD, listening to music or spotting road signs. Your pet might appreciate a toy.
- Ask passengers to assist you when you need help with a pet or child.
- Talk with children about the importance of not bothering the driver.
- Don’t give in to whining or tantrums—always keep your eyes on the road.
- If you can’t devote your full attention to driving, pull over to a safe area to take care of an issue before continuing your trip.
Find out more information about traveling safely with children in the car.