With the year-end holidays almost upon us, thousands of cars will be hitting South Africa’s roads – which means it’s time to think about road safety.
This is all the more important given that many families will be travelling with children – and, while most of us understand the importance of ensuring that car seats are used to keep babies and toddlers safe, car safety is just as important for older children.
The first step is also a basic one: making sure that every person in the car has their seatbelt on. Without it, a child is at risk of hurtling through the car should the driver need to apply brakes suddenly, especially if the car is travelling at speed.
Children also need to understand that they must keep still in the car. That means no playing around in the back seat, leaning out the window, or sticking their heads and hands out the car, particularly when it is in motion. This puts the child at risk for being thrown through the windscreen and can lead to their death – or head trauma at the very least.
One of the reasons children are tempted to give in to this kind of behaviour is because they feel bored on long trips – so take the opportunity to stop where you can to allow them to run off their energy.
This will also ensure that their fidgeting does not distract you as the driver. Driving long distances can place a strain on your attention, but when you have children in the car, it is more important than ever to maintain a safe speed and bear in mind the rules of considerate driving.