Holiday Travel Tips: How to Avoid Child-Related Driving Distractions

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Cute but distracting. Photo courtesy oddharmonic via Flickr.

Cute but distracting. Photo courtesy oddharmonic via Flickr.

The 10 days leading up to Christmas are some of the biggest driving days of the year. For drivers with children in the car, it  can also be a harrowing time to drive. Between holiday traffic and the usual crush of drivers who are speeding, driving while distracted, or even driving drunk, it’s a particularly dangerous time to be on the road.

Even if parents are diligent about not being distracted by their phones when they drive, that trip out to Aunt Ethel’s comes with an equally dangerous distraction — the kids. Thankfully, being distracted by children while driving is not a ticket-worthy offense. However, that doesn’t make it any less dangerous for New York drivers and those they share the road with.

Here are six tips for parents to help avoid pint-sized distractions and drive safely.

Pack an activity bag. Depending on the age of the kids, this could include storybooks, coloring books, magnetic activity boards, and simple toys. Be sure not to bring anything too noisy and pack multiples of anything the kids may fight over.

Bring snacks. For longer trips, have juice and light snacks on hand to ward off hunger complaints. Keep them in a spot that is easily accessible.

Take breaks. Again, this makes sense for longer drives, particularly those that may take an hour or more. There’s no hard and fast rule for how often to stop; it will depend on the kids’ ages and how quickly they get bored. It’s also an advantage to the driver, who may need to stretch his/her legs and get a breath of fresh air to avoid drowsiness.

Play movies or music. If the vehicle is equipped with a DVD player, this is a great excuse to use it. For those who don’t have such luxuries, a CD or other car-enabled music player can help pass the time.

Pull over. If things start to get rowdy – the kids start fighting or someone is throwing a tantrum because a toy fell – pull to the side of the road before dealing with it.

Have another adult with you. The best defense against child-induced distractions is to delegate the parenting process to another qualified adult. This could be a spouse, friend, or the second cousin who could probably use a ride anyway. As long as the other person can be trusted to act like an adult in times of stress, it will be a great help.

Police can only issue a ticket for distracted driving in New York if the driver is distracted by a cell phone or other electronic device. However, any type of distraction can be potentially dangerous and result in inadvertently committing other traffic violations, including failure to yield, unlawful lane change, or running a red light, all of which can result in hundreds of dollars in fines (like kids don’t cost enough already), plus points on your license.

If you or a loved one has committed a traffic violation of any kind, it is essential that you retain an attorney to avoid the most serious consequences. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

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This post was written by Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.

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