Having precious cargo on board – namely, a toddler or a furry friend – naturally raises safety concerns for conscientious drivers. While driving always comes with an inherent set of dangers, you can minimize those dangers by practicing these safety tips:
We get it. When your toddler or pet does something super cute (or naughty), it’s easy to get distracted and try to multitask. Unfortunately, this behavior is tied to accidents. Twenty-nine percent of respondents to a survey done by Kurgo and AAA reported being distracted by their pets when they drove. The number is almost certainly higher with kids.
As the driver, your focus should be on the road. If something needs to be dealt with, pull over. It can wait.
Your toddler should be in a child’s car seat until they’re old enough to use a seatbelt. This not only protects them in the event of a crash, but it also keeps them restrained so they don’t wander around the car.
Similarly, the safest place for a pet inside your car is a crate. You can use a simple crate, but certain manufacturers sell “indestructible” crates that are specifically made to protect pets in car crashes.
Toddlers in car seats should be in the back seat. If possible, place their car seat facing backward in the middle seat, where the toddler will be farthest from the side airbags. Never place car seats in the front seat. As a general rule, children should sit in the back until they’re 13 years old.
Similarly, dogs should ride in the back seat of the car or in the storage area behind the back row. Make sure they have enough airflow to stay comfortable or they may start to feel panicked and overheated.
Bald tires should be replaced as soon as they reach the recommended threshold. This is a general driving safety tip, of course, but it can save you and your small passenger from serious injury at high speeds or if you need to brake suddenly.
Above all, stay alert and remember that you should pull over to address anything important.