When we discuss distracted driving accidents, we typically talk about common distractions such as:
- Texting while driving
- Eating and drinking
- Reading and sending emails
- Talking on a cell phone
- Programming a GPS
- Reaching for objects
However, there is another distraction that is rarely included in a list of driver distractions that has the potential for being an extremely dangerous distraction — children.
The Dangers Children Pose for Drivers
Children can be far more distracting to a driver than almost any other type of distraction. A parent will take his or her eyes off the road numerous times to check on a child in the back seat or respond to a child’s screaming or requests. In many cases, a parent also takes at least one hand off the wheel to hand a child something or reach for an object the child wants or needs. In some cases, the distraction is innocent, such as playing with a child to keep him or her entertained or happy.
Unfortunately, a distraction while driving can cause a tragic car accident. A parent who looks around or has his or her mind on the child can easily drift into another lane, turn in front of another vehicle, or run a red light. It takes just a split second for a traffic accident to occur.
How Can Parents Reduce Distractions While Driving?
Driving with children in the vehicle is a daily occurrence for parents. While you cannot avoid all distractions from children in a vehicle, there are some things you can do to reduce distractions to avoid accidents.
- Planning is a key step. Before leaving home, you should make sure your child has everything he or she may need within easy reach. Fasteners and straps are a great way to keep toys from falling onto the floor where they are out of reach for children. For older children, you can pack a small bag or box with everything they may need, including a place to put trash. Older children can also assist with younger children by handing them toys and other items so that you do not need to worry about it while driving.
- Food and drink. Food and drink are a huge distraction in a vehicle. To avoid the need for snacks during the drive, plan time for a small snack and bathroom break before leaving. If you must have snacks during a ride, pack snacks in spill-proof containers and have them within easy reach of children.
- Avoid multi-tasking. It is tempting to multi-task while driving, especially for parents who are extremely busy and in the vehicle for a good portion of the day driving carpools and running errands. However, you need to keep your focus on the road to avoid a crash.
- Make them wait. In some cases, children must be patient. It is okay if they don’t always get what they want immediately because it helps them learn to be patient.
- Pull over. If it is something that cannot wait, pull over to a safe location. It may add a few minutes to your trip, but it is worth it not to cause a distracted driving accident.
Contact a NOLA Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
If a distracted driver injures you or your children, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free consultation with a NOLA distracted driving accident attorney.