No parent wants to imagine that they are endangering their children or their family. But the simple, mundane act of driving to and from school, the office, etc. Everyday puts you and your loved ones in the direct line of danger. Yikes!
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this necessary evil from turning into a tragedy. Here are 6 ways you might be endangering your family on the road without even realizing—and what to do about it!
In the digital age, there are so many things demanding our attention. Our phones, our texts, our emails—even the dashboard in our cars now have access to the internet! It seems like there is no end to the number of distractions you can amuse yourself with when you are stuck in traffic.
But even at slow speeds, distractions can turn deadly. After a long day at work, when you’re picking up the kids, it is natural to want to scroll through Instagram or Facebook on your way home. It might be the only time you get to do so in your busy schedule! However, distracted driving is considered impaired driving. In fact, nearly 3,000 people were killed in 2018 as a result of distracted driving.
At certain speeds, you can travel the length of a football field with your eyes off the road for just seconds. Yikes! Even worse, distracted driving puts yourself and your family at risk of falling victim to someone else’s dangerous driving practices. Double yikes!
Poor Vehicular Maintenance
Regular maintenance on your vehicle is crucial to both its health and the health of its passengers. God forbid you discover there is an issue with your brakes only when you get on the highway! Proper tire tread, brake pads, and other little maintenance issues are usually cheap fixes—as long as you catch them before they start causing problems.
Even relatively benign things, like your fluid levels, can add up to cause big problems for you and your family on the road. For example, you want to have a good pair of windshield wipers during a downpour. If yours are skipping or just generally unhelpful amid a thunderstorm, you could be setting yourself up for a deadly disaster!
If you do happen to be involved in a crash, you should see a doctor. Always receive medical attention. Some injuries might not be present immediately, but a variety of problems can be linked back to even a minor car crash, according to the Barnes Firm, a San Diego accident lawyer.
As technology progresses, safety features become more advanced. Things we did not even consider dangerous as recently as a decade ago have become problems that technology has already solved. Air bags, seat belts, childproof door locks—all of these things that have become standard in cars are constantly becoming safer and more advanced.
Consider whether or not your car is up to code. Older cars are surely more budget friendly in the short term: they require only a little money up front, but they can amass huge debts for buyers over time. Even more compelling is the cost of injury or trauma resultant of a car accident. Surely, you would be devastated if your children were injured. Could your family afford the financial hit if one of the breadwinners in your family suddenly became disabled or otherwise debilitated after an accident?
If you are married, have kids, a job, or all of the above, you are likely loaded with stress and short on sleep. You have probably made the choice to get behind the wheel with less than adequate ZZZ’s under your belt. Not good!
Driving while sleepy can be as dangerous as driving drunk. In fact, missing even just two hours of sleep is the equivalent of consuming three beers before driving. That’s right: if you are running on less than seven hours of sleep, you might as well be driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08%.
So while it might be hard to make the time, your family’s safety, your safety, and your peace of mind are worth setting aside a solid seven hours of peaceful sleep. Don’t skimp, or you could be sorry!
Reliance on Technology
Technology has become the backbone of modern living. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, this is not always a good thing. If you rely on your GPS or your phone to navigate around town, you are allowing yourself to be distracted. Even if you aren’t texting, your eyes are off the road, and it only takes seconds for a devastating accident to occur.
Similarly, your driving skills might be suffering as result of over reliance on technology. For example, rearview cameras that help us parallel park make objects seem farther than they actually are. There is a reason all of our old fashioned rearview mirrors drilled this into our heads!
No Emergency Kit
Emergency kits ought to be a top priority in the cars of anyone who lives in harsh or demanding climates. Up north, terrible snowstorms can bring communities to a grinding halt. If you were caught in a flash storm, you would definitely be wishing you had an emergency kit to help tide you over until help arrives!
Your emergency kit should, at the very least, have potable water, reflective blankets, flares, and any chargers you might need for cellphones so that you can keep in contact with the proper authorities.