Keep your kids out of your hair while driving

Posted by: Cal on 31/05/2013

Category: General

When we think of "distracted driving," we often imagine answering a text from a friend or maybe clicking around your phone to check the weather or send out a tweet. There are some terribly reckless things that can happen behind the wheel - being drunk, eating, chatting on the phone - but one of the most dangerous is one that mums do every single day.

That's right, driving with kids in the car is one of the most dangerous distractions to driving. A 2013 Australian study by the Monash University Accident Research Centre and Monash Injury Research Institute found that while the biggest sources of crashes caused by distracted driving were intoxication and sleepiness, distraction from passengers made up five per cent of the 340 serious casualty crashes that occurred in Victoria and NSW between 2000 and 2011.

While other car concerns like tyre safety and engine maintenance are important to consider, it appears your young passengers may pose one of the more significant risks to trips in the car.

Any mum knows how irritating it can be to have kids crying, fighting or whining from the back seat of the car, but when it starts to affect the safety of your driving, you know it's time to make some serious changes.

Here are some tricks to ensure your kids stay out of your hair so you can all arrive at your destination safely:

Keep snacks on hand

Most mums understand the power of food - a good snack can smooth and soothe cranky kids, whether they're fighting among themselves or are simply tired.

Keep some easy snacks, like individual serving sizes of the kids' favourite crackers or a muesli bar, in the front seat of the car so you can easily grab one and hand it back to the kids.

Buy some waste bags that hang on the back of your seat so the children can dispose of their own rubbish once they're finished and not bother you while you are driving.

Set up hands-free calling

Many cars today have hands-free phone systems that allow calls to come through your sound system while driving. You can answer the call with a simple click of a button on your steering wheel or radio. Hands-free calls like this are the only type of cell phone use that is currently allowed while driving under Australian law.

While you still won't want to have long phone conversations while you're behind the wheel, this technology can help you field important calls from Dad or the babysitter.

You may also want to download an application on your phone that blocks incoming calls and text messages by responding with a message saying you are driving and will answer later.