Special Contribution by: Ashley McLean | YoungMoms.info
As a new parent, the well-being of your child is your top priority. While you may be used to hopping in your car without a second thought, getting behind the wheel with a baby in the back seat requires some extra attention to safety. Vehicle safety is all about following smart driving practices and keeping your car in top-notch condition. Here are some care maintenance and driving tips to protect your family out on the road.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
Now that you have a child, take a moment to review your auto insurance policy. Make sure you have the right type of coverage to protect your family’s finances if something happens. Even if you’re never in an accident, weather damage, car theft or vandalism can be very expensive to fix. If your policy is set to expire soon, it might be worth it to shop around for better rates and coverage options. As you shop around for rates and coverage, look to highly-rated insurance companies who consistently get top marks and who have a history of financial strength.
Multitasking leads to dangerous drving. As you get accustomed to the life of a busy parent, you may face the temptation to multitask in the car. Don’t try to put on makeup, eat, get dressed, or soothe your child while driving. Driving with a screaming child in the back seat is safer than taking your eyes off the road to hand them a toy or bottle. If your child starts fussing while you’re on the road, find a safe place to pull over before tending to them.
Using your phone in the car is especially dangerous. According to TeenSafe, drivers are 12.2 times more likely to be in a car accident while dialing a phone and 23 times more likely to be in a crash while texting! Reduce your risk by using only hands-free electronics in your car. A Bluetooth headset and a car mount for your phone can help you keep your hands on the wheel. To save money on your car-friendly electronics, look for deals on websites like Rakuten or Amazon.
Don’t Drive Drowsy
The dangers of driving while sleep-deprived are widely underrated, according to NBC News BETTER. In fact, being drowsy has a similar effect on our driving abilities as being impaired by alcohol! New parents are likely to experience drowsiness that may impact their reaction times. Before getting in the car, think about whether or not you really need to make the trip.
Consider waiting on your errands until you can catch up on some sleep. This can help you save money too! Short, one-stop car trips put a lot of wear and tear on your engine, costing you more in maintenance and repairs over the life of your vehicle. Not only that, but your car will burn gas at a higher rate during short trips.
If you’re already driving and find yourself yawning continually, experiencing short memory lapses, or drifting around in your lane, pull over. A quick 20-minute nap in a safe parking lot or rest stop can help you stay alert enough to get home safely.
Follow a Regular Maintenance Schedule
Keeping up with your car maintenance is extremely important for safety, but also for your wallet. Regular vehicle maintenance is much cheaper than expensive repairs. Plus, a well-maintained car gets better gas mileage and holds better value when it comes time to sell. Follow your car’s regular upkeep schedule and learn how to identify issues before they become expensive or dangerous. For example, Business Insider urges drivers to check the health of their car tires every month so they can spot problems that can be hazardous on the road.
Everyone should follow safe driving practices, but new parents need to be especially careful to avoid accidents due to distractions or drowsiness. Develop safe habits now so you can set a good example for your growing child. When it’s time for them to get behind the wheel for the first time, you’ll be prepared to teach them everything they need to know to stay safe.