5 Tips for Driving with Kids

Driving with kids can be an adventure. But it also can be extremely dangerous, especially if the driver becomes distracted by the actions of child passengers. According to AAA, drivers spend more than half of their time behind the wheel focused on things other than driving—and that number can be even higher when kids are in the car.

As a parent or caregiver, the last thing you want to do is to ignore your kids. But although it’s important to take care of your kids’ needs, it’s more important to make sure they’re safe by keeping your attention on the road and avoiding distracted driving behaviors.

Tips for Driving with Kids

Sooner or later, nearly every driver will be forced to experience driving with children in the car. The best way to maintain focus when driving with kids is to plan ahead and create a scenario that minimizes opportunities for distractions.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. In-Car Movies or Family Music Selection. In-car CD players, the radio and portable DVD players and other technologies make it possible to keep kids entertained with music and movies during long and even short car trips. Although you’ll need to monitor the volume, videos can keep the kids in the backseat entertained for hours.
  2. Activity Bags. Younger kids enjoy activity bags filled with books, candy, magnetic travel board games and other goodies. The catch is that some activities are more effective and age appropriate than others, so you’ll need to experiment to discover which items work for your kids.
  3. Frequent Breaks. Take frequent breaks on long car rides to break up the trip. As much as possible, allow your kids to be active when they stop and encourage them to burn off their excess energy. With any luck, they might tire themselves out and nap for a portion of the ride.
  4. Another Adult. One of the best ways to avoid distractions when driving with kids is to have another adult in the vehicle to help manage your kids’ needs. While solo adults are prone to distracted driving, the presence of another adult allows the driver to completely concentrate on driving the vehicle.

Driving with babies presents a whole new set of distracted driving challenges. Although bottles and infant-appropriate toys can help, there may be little you can do to prevent bouts of crying. If necessary, don’t hesitate to pull over and calm your child down so you can maintain focus when driving.

Want more tips for driving with kids? Visit our Driving Tips page for additional strategies to avoid distracted driving.