As you all know, we will be taking a month long trip to Florida and then spend the whole month traveling and camping. We will be returning the first week of March. So, what better time to add some driving tips, especially when traveling with children. Remember, we have 6 children, and although 3 of them are now considered adults, we have spent a majority of the last nine years on the road.
First of all, we plan as much as possible in advance. We like to know the route we are taking, and approximately where we will be stopping each evening. By doing this, we cut down on having to read a map while driving, or get concerned we past a turn or exit. I can't tell you how many times when we first started on the road that my husband would hand me the map and say, "Quick, tell me if this is the exit we need!". And I personally hate having to make a judgement call like that. So now we map out our route, so we don't have surprises like that! We also have a GPS now, but even they make mistakes occasionally. We were looking for a restaurant a friend had told us about and it took us to a golf course!
Another thing we do, is plan to have plenty for the children to do, packed and handy. Nothing like trying to drive and entertain bored children at the same time. This can be a major distraction! We bring, books, small toys, music, and occasionally a dvd. Oh, and plenty of snacks and drink. This makes for a quieter ride, less distractions, and the children are happier. And of course make sure your children are buckled in. A child bouncing around or climbing over seats could cause a wreck.
Now this should be a given! My husband is very strict about obeying speed limits and other traffic signs and signals. He has been this way since we first married. He has enforced this rule with every one of the children when they have learned to drive. We tease him about being a passenger driver. He is constantly giving hints and tips while they have their learner's permit. Sometimes they look at me and laugh. We have seen and heard of many accidents caused because someone did not follow basic traffic signs and signals. My husband lost his mother when he was 7 because someone went through a stop sign.
Another thing I would recommend is to keep your mind on the driving and not try to multitask while you are driving. I have seen to many moms talking on phones, applying makeup and turning around to talk to the children. I know this is a basic tip, but it really is necessary for safe driving.
Always be aware of the condition of the driving surfaces. Wet or icy conditions can seriously effect your driving. All it takes on a wet or slippery surface is a second of misjudgement and you can end up in a wreck. Just the other day as we pulled into the mall parking lot we slid a little on some ice. Just for a second, but we slid nonetheless. I can remember one time in Maine it was snowing and as we approached a major intersection we started sliding through the stop sign. A semi-truck was passing and we missed it by maybe an inch. So, be aware of weather and how it affects the your driving.
Last of all I will share an experience I had as a teenager. I had gone roller skating with a friend and her older sister drove. I did not know that while we were skating she was drinking. My home was on a gravel road. As we came down a nearby road the asphalt ended and the gravel began just before you went into a curve. As we entered the curve the car began sliding. Instead of giving it a little gas and guiding it through the curve she applied the brakes! HARD!. We ended up, upside down in a ditch. I was the only one injured, with a broken collar bone. So, don't drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking.
Hope this helps someone. Leave me a comment with one of your tips! And take a moment to check out Esurance's Facebook page and check out some of their hints and tips! You can like them here:
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