Distracted Driving In The Family Car

The Distracted Driving MiniVan

The headlines continue to be dominated by distracted driving and the cellphone, including texting. There is however, a part of distracted driving that has not been the focus of media, according to Young Drivers of Canada, that can have as serious and detrimental consequences as texting and driving. What is it? It’s the family vehicle and what goes on in that vehicle while it is in motion.

How many of us as parents struggle when it comes to packing up the kids in the family vehicle and driving them to school, going to get groceries or even going on a family trip. The family vehicle is a cornucopia of distractions for parents as they try to juggle driving and attending to their children, a mix that can be quite dangerous.

Distracted Driving And Multi-Tasking Don’t Mix

Parents have a tendency to multi-task in the family vehicle while they are in motion, something that we know as drivers is almost next to impossible if we want to concentrate fully on the road. From handing out drinks and treats to restless children, to attempting to clean up a carsick child’s vomit, the tasks are not just difficult to do, but when combined with driving can have dangerous consequences.  As parent’s try to control their in-car situations, many take their eyes off the road while in motion, a potentially deadly scenario. It is impossible to tend to tasks in the rear portion of your vehicle and keep complete attention on the road in front of you.

Reaching for dropped toys, changing DVD’s, are all interruptions that are compounding distracted driving. In many cases, the actions are simple not required, or can be attended to by pulling off the road in a safe manner and location and attending to the situation while not in motion.

Distracted driving is anything that takes your mind, eyes and hands off the road. Reaching back to help pick up that favourite toy or item, trying to keep peace while the kids fight for the back seat territory, or even loosing your cool can result in an accident or close call. Parents with younger children are more vulnerable to distractions.

Young Drivers of Canada through its CogniFit program teaches drivers to stay focused on the road by controlling their brain activity. The program highlights the lac of attention drivers have when it comes to brain activity while behind the wheel. Today’s parents are filled with time pressures, juggling home with work, with children and the family vehicle can put the most safety-conscious family at risk. The next time you want to reach into the back seat to pick up that toy, think of the serious consequences that can be attributed to that simple action!

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