New parents have a lot to learn. We’ve all been there. But for younger parents, one of the concerns that often slips through the cracks is driving habits.
It can be hard to change years worth of developing bad habits just because there’s a baby in the car. But for drivers at higher risk, it can be costly in a few ways.
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First, it can be costly as far as finances go. Not only will an accident require you to spend money for fix your vehicle or get a new one, but your insurance rates will go up. If you already have some traffic tickets on your record, it could cost you your license and require you to purchase SR22 insurance.
The second risk is by far the worst. The risk of harming the baby in the event of an accident… or worse. It’s unthinkable, and many don’t believe it will happen to them. But accidents are called accidents for a reason. No one means for it to happen.
The good news is, even if you are a high-risk driver with a poor record, you can change your habits before the worst happens, while also teaching your child good driving habits as they grow older.
How can you change your habits while teaching your child good habits? Let’s take a look at some of the more common bad driving habits.
1) Distracted Driving
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Being a parent takes a lot of focus, and often that results in doing too many things at one time. Parents allow themselves to drive distracted all the time. It could be messing with the car seat, keeping an argument in check, or texting while driving or sitting at a stop light. Prepare for a road trip with distractions that will keep your children engaged and out of your hair. When your child gets older, they will be used to seeing you do this as a parent and it becomes part of their habits. Your “don’t text and drive” lecture will fall on deaf ears.
2) Road Rage
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It happens to all of us. We’re behind the wheel and feel like we’re always in the right or have the right of way. Parents who get frustrated with other drivers are not only more likely to have an accident, but they often make their kids more likely to develop the same habit when they grow up. Instead of yelling when someone cuts you off, use it as an opportunity to teach them to pay attention to the road because that could have been an accident. Not everyone pays attention while driving, and you can’t assume that others will even if you do.
3) Speeding to Make Time
If you are running late for an appointment or work, don’t use it as an excuse to speed. Take your time and accept that you might be a minute or two late. If you’re past the point where minutes matter because you’re so far behind, speeding won’t make any difference anyway. When your child grows up, they will learn the importance of being safe behind the wheel over the bad habit of risking running a red light or speeding to get somewhere on time. And when it comes to curfew, offering them a little flexibility if they’re a few minutes late will let them know it’s okay to be late as long as they drive safe.
4) Responsible Driving
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I put more than one thing under this category. It should be obvious that with a child in the car you don’t want to drink and drive. It’s just the responsible thing to do. But there are other things that could put your family at the same risk. Are you overly tired and in danger of nodding off? Do you feel sick or dizzy? Avoid driving to avoid the risk of an accident. Your child will grow up with the same habits and know when to be responsible about driving.