Why Are Parents The Most Distracted Drivers?

From asking questions and bickering with their siblings, to little ones crying in the backseat, driving with children can be difficult at times. A study suggests that there could be more problems for parents to deal with than simply responding to the ‘are we there yet?’ question. The University of Michigan carried out a survey of more than 600 parents and questioned their most common driving distractions. Researchers asked whether, in the past month, they had talked on the phone, asked for directions, engaged in child-care or changed the entertainment system, such as changing a CD. They then asked how frequently the parents had done these things. The study showed that looking after children took up 25 percent of every trip – a worrying result.

Not all of the distractions mentioned were dangerous, as listening to the GPS or eating a snack won’t cause enough of a distraction to lead to any harm. But some are – texting and driving, for example, it extremely hazardous and can lead to a crash. In other words, anything which causes you to take your eyes off the road can cause a problem. Parents who used their phones whilst driving were more than twice as likely to have been involved in a car crash previously. Child care, self-care (such as grooming) or asking for directions also led to a doubled chance of a vehicle accident, and entertainment or texting increased the risk by as much as 11/2.

Parenthood brings with it a need for multitasking, but there are some situations which require your full attention. When you’re driving your children around, you should be 100 percent focused on what you’re doing. It’s easy to find the time to do these other tasks without them eating too much into your day – pull over to make a call, or wait until you stop driving if it isn’t urgent, for example. You can also make sure there are plenty of toys in the car to keep the children entertained during longer car journeys.

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