Overlooked distractions parents face behind the wheel – and how to avoid them

Texting and using cell phones are among the most commonly talked about bad driving behaviors. These are behaviors that distract a driver's attention from the road. As a parent, when you do these activities yourself, you risk endangering yourself as well as your kids. Many parents have already made an attempt to stash away the cell phone while on the road in an effort to drive more safely and to set a good example for their kids. However, there are a few other common but overlooked distractions that parents in particular face behind the wheel.

Sibling Rivalry

If you have more than one child in your car, you no doubt spend a considerable amount of time playing referee when you should be concentrating on the road. When your attention is taken off the road, you are more likely to get into an accident. Keeping kids separated as much as possible in a car is beneficial, so consider making full use of that third row of seating in your vehicle if you have it. You can also make sure kids have something to keep them entertained. This may be their iPod, a hand-held gaming system, a good book or something similar. You may even consider keeping a bag of fun things in the car so that they constantly have plenty to do.

Flying Objects

If you had things thrown in your direction or have been poked, prodded, jiggled or more while on the road, you are not alone. Only in the cars of parents are drivers forced to be on the lookout for flying sippy cups, foam swords, rolling soccer balls and more. Before you head down the road, consider making sure all loose objects are stored away safely and out of reach of the kids. These objects can distract and even injure you while driving in some cases.

Pets on the Loose

In many families, pets are absolutely a member of the family. Kids may even consider them to be a sibling, and parents may refer to them as their baby. Many families love to take their pets on road trips, but they can be bothersome in the car. Avoid allowing a dog to ride on your lap or in the front seat while driving. This is a distraction that wiggles, squirms, bumps your arm and blocks your vision of the road. Even dogs that sit with the kids in the backseat can be a distraction to you. It is best to keep the dog kenneled in a crate when traveling on the road in order to prevent him from being a distraction to you.

Here are a few other articles written by this author:

How Positive is Your Parenting?

Helping Your Kids Through Fights with Friends

Kids and Friend Drama: When to Step In