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Mom, Dad, Keep Your Eyes on the Road

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Sleep-deprived, distracted parents make common mistakes while driving


A confined space with a whiny, crying child is the stuff of nightmares.

A confined space on wheels, moving at top speeds with a whiny, crying child is the stuff of reality for many drivers.

When kids are in the car, a parent’s focus on the road is often hindered by the goings-on in the backseat. Crying, whining, throwing things, throwing tantrums, chatting, singing, screaming, weird questions, unrealistic demands and sibling interactions—annoying each other by touching or by not touching each other—are common activities and minefields parents have to navigate while navigating traffic.

Driving is stressful on a normal day. Driving with children is stressful times infinity all.the.time.

According to writer Emily Bloch, parents, mostly moms, fall prey to the mistakes below while behind the wheel.

Parents of wee children are often subjected to sleep deprivation. The saying, “slept like a baby,” actually means awful—it means sleeping in spurts—not a long, blissful stretch of seven to 10 hours of sleep. Of course most babies will become  good sleepers, eventually. But, until then there are a whole lot of nights where quality sleep is not achieved by parents (mostly moms, since dads seem to sleep through anything). Bloch advises parents to seek assistance–think carpool or an adult companion–if sleepless nights are overtaking their lives; take advantage of the kids’ naptime with an adult nap; and while driving, open the windows and crank up the music–the fresh air and noise can help with staying awake. But, seek out a rest area as soon as possible.

Related: Carpooling Tips

Becoming a parent means you now will never be on time for anything ever again. School functions, work, doctor’s appointments and picking up kids from daycare—forgettaboutit—you might as well have that late fee ready. So, it’s no wonder parents tend to speed when rushing to retrieve their kid from school or daycare, according to Bloch. But, just don’t. It’s dangerous, and as responsible adults, you should know better.

Parents lead busy lives and often even important things fall off the never-ending to-do list. But, don’t let car care be one of them, advises Bloch. She recommends that while getting gas, check the air and the tread wear of the tires and test the brake lights, headlights, and turn signals to ensure they are operating properly. Have the coolant levels, transmission, brakes, and power steering evaluated by a mechanic and never ignore the “check engine” light on the dash, said Bloch.

Car Care 101: Time to schedule spring service

Parents tend to act on instinct, usually instantaneously. Whether it’s to calm or to discipline, parents usually have a hard time ignoring their children when they need them. But, when driving, Bloch recommends parents try to handle situations without taking their eyes off the road—turning around to hand back a toy or sippy cup is dangerous. If the situation warrants a face to face conversation or cuddle, stop at a gas station or other safe location.

Bloch also warns against talking on cellphones or texting while driving—good advice for all drivers.

News Source: Parenting