Life changes when you have kids, in so many unpredictable ways! I’d never have predicted how utterly awful my driving would become. I used to be a reasonable driver, but my word it is terrible these days. Driving around with three precious lives in the backseat should make me a more attentive driver. Holy smoke, that is not the case!
Turns out that driving while distracted by kids is worse that driving while talking on the phone. Of course a study was needed to prove that, but I’m pretty sure most parents would be thinking, no kidding!
Don’t take your eyes off the road
It’s driving 101, but you really shouldn’t take your eyes of the road. Good luck with that when you have kids in the car! There’s always argy bargy going on in the back about whose feet are encroaching on whose space, someone’s arm is too close to them, someone is too noisy, someone is eating a banana and one of the others HATES the smell. You’re forced to look back to work out what on earth is going on, what the source of the commotion is. Or when it’s quite, you keep glancing back to see who is falling asleep. Sometimes you’re eagerly watching those little eyes in the hope they shut. Other times you really don’t want the kid to fall asleep, so you start loudly calling their name, opening and closing the windows, or prodding them with a spare hand. Your eyes aren’t on the road anywhere near as much as they ought to be when you are driving while distracted by kids.
Keep your hands on the wheel
I swear my kids think the car is a café, but whenever we are in the car they demand food. So I’m driving along opening packets of tiny teddies, Tupperware containers or drink bottles, peeling mandarins or bananas and passing these things to the backseat. Often I’m driving and dangling sultanas or crackers at the littlest lad who is in a rearward facing car seat. This involves bending my arm in a very unnatural way until he grasps hold of what is on offer. Then there are the times when a wayward balloon floats into the front of the car, leaving me to bash it out of the way. Or there are shrieks of “I dropped my book/teddy/car/lego/any other toy that should have been left inside the house, get it”. You start wildly groping at the floor of the back seat in an attempt to retrieve the offending object. All while still driving. Who said driving while distracted by kids was dangerous?!?
Keep your mind on the road
The noise in our car is insane. Some days it is relentless chatter, with random questions or statements. Other days it’s enthusiastic proclamations like “look Mummy, it’s a cat parachuting from the sky”. Often, there’s crying or whining from the littlest lad. I try to stop the littlest lad’s crying by singing or shushing, or sometimes giving his arm a reassuring rub. The biggest lad likes adjusting the backseat air-conditioning with his feet. That inevitably leads to protests from the middle lad about it being too hot or too cold or too just the right temperature. Not to mention the fan blasting out air. Basically, with all the happenings inside my car it’s near impossible to concentrate on what is going on outside the car. It’s a wonder there isn’t an offence called ‘driving while distracted by kids’.
I’ve suggested to Mr Wallace that we get a limousine. That way we can sit in the front with the glass panel up, firmly shutting out the noise from the back seat. Unfortunately a limo would be really tough to park at child care drop off and I’m not sure it has three anchor points for car seats. That’s the best idea I’ve had. Looks like I’ll be driving while distracted by kids for a long while.
Tell me I am not alone! How’s your driving with kids in the car? Better or worse?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT