Keeping The Family Safe On The Road
If there's one thing that drives my anxiety skywards, it's travelling in the car with the kids. No matter how good a driver you are, how safe your car is, there's always the worry of driving conditions and other road users. I find the whole thing so stressful!
There are things we can do though to ensure we are keeping our family as safe as possible on the road. We can't control everything in the world, but we can make sure everything is as it should be and knowing what's what when it comes to car safety can ease anxiety with driving, relieving just a little of the stress of travelling with children.
Here's my top tips to keep you and your family safe on the roads all year round, from keeping the kids happy to running the car as smoothly as possible.
Family Travelling Tips
Be prepared - Massive cliche here, but it's so true. If you arm yourself with plenty of knowledge of the journey ahead, familiarise yourself with major roads and suitable stops, you will be able to focus more on the road ahead, with less panic whilst driving. Make sure you have anything you may need on route within reach, to ensure you don't have to reach or divert your gaze while driving.
Keep the kids busy - Kids arguing, noisy games, cries of 'are we there yet?' are just a few of the many distractions that come with travelling with kids. It's not their fault, it can be pretty dull and in the likely event they don't just zonk out to sleep for the entire journey, make sure they have plenty of things to keep them busy, from films and music to enjoy with headphones, to simply sketch pads, tick sheets for things they can spot and other activities. If you pop over to Pinterest there are plenty of ideas to get you started. The less bored the kids are, the less they will fuss and the more you can concentrate.
Limit distractions - Make sure music is kept at a reasonable level to hear what's going on inside and outside the car. Pop your own phone out of sight unless you are using it for navigation and make sure anyone else with a phone has it on silent, with the screen light dimmed for darker travelling hours. It can sometimes be hard to manage a messy car, but if you can keep clutter and mess to a minimum, with a rubbish bag in place for longer journeys, you can avoid the risk of things rolling under pedals or causing noisy distractions rattling around. Don't forget the boot space too!
Stop regularly - Sometimes you feel like if you stop you'll never get going again, that it's perhaps better to just plough through until you reach your destination. Never underestimate the benefit of even a short break though. Stretching your legs quickly, getting a caffeine hit or a spot to eat can really give you a boost for the next leg of the journey. Ear mark plenty of potential stops on route, especially with kids and pets in the car for toilet stops.
Update your car seats - Kids grow up so quickly and it's really easy to not realise that perhaps it's time for a car seat upgrade to support your growing child's weight and height. In order to keep them as safe as possible, it's really important to keep track of their seats and update if needed. There are lots of handy guides out there for choosing the best car seat for your child's needs and it's always worth checking what the current laws are too. If you child is travelling with a friend or relative, make sure they too are equipped with the knowledge of fitting the seat and securing your child in safely, it can make such a huge difference in the event of an accident.
Triple check seat belts - Adults and children alike can easily forget their seat belt. Even with a baby or toddler, it only takes a split second of distraction to miss that vital step of strapping your child in (I've done it!) and the last thing you want to do is realise your error while you're driving. So, when it comes to seat belts, check, check and check again before setting off.
Quick safety checks before setting off - Having a quick check of things like tyre treads, tyre pressure, screen wash bottle being filled, oil filled before you set off, reduces the chance of anything going wrong on your trip. Also, making sure the car has things like a torch and blankets stored in the boot in case you break down will make life a lot easier.
Get covered - Sometimes, no matter how well prepared you are things do go wrong. Having cover with a reputable break down company can be such a relief, just knowing you can get towed without paying a fortune, have someone with you if it's dark or even give you support in an accident can be very reassuring. It doesn't have to cost the earth, but when something does happen it's so helpful to have an expert on hand to get you sorted.
It sounds like a lot to think about, but just getting into good habits when travelling can make long journeys as a family a lot more peaceful and relaxing.
Do you have any more safety tips for travelling families?