Tempers can get frayed and whoever is behind the wheel can be easily distracted, with potentially tragic consequences. Even more so with recent advances in technology, with smartphones and tablets commonplace.
In 2007, distraction inside a vehicle was recorded as contributing to more than 3,000 accidents, 75 of which resulted in fatalities. Often, restless youngsters can take a driver’s focus off the road, so before setting out, why not chat to your children about how they can play their part in keeping everybody safe. Also make sure there is plenty to keep children occupied on long journeys.
Safety starts even before a trip. Ensuring everyone is strapped in securely is vital. And planning your journey, for example the route you will take, can save time, money and stress.
If you use a sat nav, programme it before you set off so you will not need to take your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel while you are driving. Similarly, switch off your phone and let voicemail do its job.
A good plan will also take account of the need for breaks in long journeys, scheduling in leg-stretching stops and even an overnight stay on especially lengthy trips. Driver sleepiness is estimated to account for around 20% of accidents on major roads, and is responsible for around 300 deaths every year.
In addition, vehicles should always be checked before long journeys, so if you haven’t recently checked your vehicle’s water and oil levels, as well as tyre pressure and condition, a family outing is the ideal time to do so.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA head of road safety, said: “Whether you’re taking the children to your local park this half term, or trekking across the country with granny for a fortnight’s summer break by the beach, the whole family can be involved in road safety.”
“It is essential everyone is secure, which for younger children will mean making sure the car seats or booster cushions are installed correctly.
“And it always makes sense to plan your journey before you set out. Finally, make the most of the opportunity to help your children learn about road safety.”
RoSPA is raising awareness of how we can all play a part in water, home, and road safety, as well as safety education, as part of National Family Week.
For more information on family road safety, see rospa.com/roadsafety/