Keep kids occupied to avoid distraction

Bringing portable games consoles can keep children occupied while on long journeys. 27th February 2014

To help drivers avoid being distracted by children in the back of their car, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has released advice on the matter.

Children on long car journeys tend to have a habit of turning to their parents when they get bored, which can potentially be dangerous when they are driving.

Recently, the IAM and Vision Critical surveyed drivers about what offers the biggest distractions to their journeys and children ranked top with 29 per cent of respondents saying that they were the most likely factor to divert the attention.

Other factors that proved to be common distractions included mobile phones, backseat drivers and satnavs. Nine per cent of drivers admitted to having been involved in crashes in the past because of distractions.

Chief examiner at IAM Peter Rodger said: "Kids can be noisy, disruptive and distracting, especially if they get bored. The trick is to keep them occupied as much as possible and to keep your attention on the road."

His advice ranged from tips to keeping them occupied to how to react if they need attention and how drivers can conduct themselves on the road.

Mr Rodger suggested introducing games to reward quiet behaviour or to bring portable games and DVD players to occupy children, yet advised bringing headphones so that the noise does not distract the driver.

He also put forward a number of preparations that drivers can make ahead of the journey to ensure children are tended to. These include bringing plenty of snacks and drink so that children do not get hungry or thirsty and equipping their car with bags that do not have holes in them in the event of travel sickness. If possible, he also advised bringing another adult so that they can attend to the children.

Other tips for safe driving included not turning around to deal with children until the driver has found a safe place to stop and leaving at least a two second gap between the vehicle in front to allow for more time to react if something happens ahead.