5 Safe Driving Tips for Dads

Thinking back to the moment the midwife told us we could leave the hospital after having Ted, I vividly remember the daunting feeling of taking this beautiful little boy out into the big wide world and putting him into the UK’s biggest killer; the car. I mean, My car isn’t the UK’s biggest killer, but you know what I’m saying.
Safe driving tips for dads
Strapping his minute frame into the car seat that we had spent hours choosing and pulling away was one of the most surreal moments I’d experienced in my 28 years. Suddenly, the Highway Code was flashing before my eyes; something that hadn’t happened since I had to take my theory test 11 years ago. The road signs and speed limits had a new meaning and by gum, an amber light definitely meant stop!
My top speed must’ve barely scraped 25mph. But one thing was sure, my little boy was safe.
Driving with children should be taken very seriously. Don’t get me wrong, safe driving is always important, but when you have the lives of your children in your hands, you really do need buck your ideas up. I’m speaking for myself, but I’m sure there are many dads similar, but when I’m nipping to the shop for milk, I probably don’t drive as safe as I could. Not reckless by any means but add the children and I’m a different driver.
This post is designed to give you some really practical and useful tips to make sure that your driving is as safe as possible. I’m not an expert on road safety but these are just some things that I’ve started to do myself that I think make us all that bit safer.

1. Don’t Drive

That might sound daft but what I mean is to ask yourself whether you have to drive or not. If the shop is just down the road, do you really need to drive? If not, then don’t. Then your risk of an accident is completely avoided.

2. Get the Right Car Seat

It goes without saying that you need a good car seat but more importantly, you need to make sure its the right car seat for the child’s age and weight, that it’s fitted correctly and that your child is strapped in safely. Take a look at our ultimate guide to car seats and car seat safety here.

3. Tie the Toys Down

We’ve all been there. The kids are shouting in the back of the car because their toy has fallen out the car seat or onto the floor. In that moment all they want in the world is to hold that particular toy. It will only take one occasion for you to reach behind, take your eyes off the road and have an accident. The simple answer is to have no lose toys or any other objects for that matter in the car. Alternatively tether them to the car seat. The best things to use are those plastic D rings because you can make them any length but also they don’t present a strangulation threat. (A nice easy going post hey!)

4. Install a Dash Cam

As I’m getting older, (still the ripe old age of 28 though…) I’m getting more cynical each day. I wouldn’t say I’m quite at the ‘grumpy old man’ stage but well on my way. I’ve recently installed the Nextbase Dash Cam. I’d been thinking about it for a while and after reading a post about the benefits, when the opportunity presented itself I jumped at it. For 3 main reasons:

  1. Driving accidents – Obviously the first thought with any accident is whether anyone has been hurt, but sadly the second thought is usually one of blame. Having a dash cam just takes away that whole, “You cut me up!” “No, you didn’t leave any space…” kind of argument.
  2. Parking incidents – Relatively recently I came back to my car to find a huge scratch up the side. After double checking that the wife hadn’t ‘forgotten to tell me something,’ I knew that there’d been some sort of scrape with another car. The good thing about a dash cam is that just because the car is switched off, doesn’t mean the dash cam has to be. I could well have had the answer to the mysterious scratch. (Although still suspicious of Jen!)
  3. Insurance – It just gives an extra layer of protection when dealing with the insurers.

Having never owned a dash cam before I was’t entirely sure what to expect. But I’ve found the Nextbase Dash Cam to be really good. Out the box it was simple to set up and straight forward to use. A great feature of this dash cam is that it has an anti glare polarising filter on the lens. It reduces the amount of glare from the windscreen; a really nice addition. The lens is great quality and has an additional aspect to it; the image sensor has a wide dynamic range resulting in the ability to film very dark and very bright areas at the same time. It’s able to measure speed & location using GPS and has the ability to record in any quality up to 1080p.

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It does exactly what it’s supposed to, seamlessly and with a few nice extras too.

5. Fill Up Before You Go

Yes, you should fill up your car with petrol when you haven’t got the kids in the car. Purely because getting them unclipped, out the seats, into the shop and then back again is such a pain in the neck. And leaving them in the car whilst you nip in to pay, just isn’t ok. In my mind. Although i’ve read a lot of debates on this topic recently. But also, while yore there, fill up your tummy! Eating or drinking whilst driving is such a dangerous and unnecessary thing to do. So avoid it. Simple.

6. Get a ‘baby’ mirror

Ironically, the mirror we used when Ted was a baby has actually found it’s way out of the car and into the house, and every time I get in the car with Ted, I wish that mirror was up! Basically, it sits on the head rest, angled at the baby in the car seat. It’s super useful to see whether your baby is asleep or not but also just to keep a close eye on things. I’d highly recommend it and this is a great one if you’re buying one now.

7. Tyres

People generally spend so much money on various safety items for their car, but when it comes to tyres; you know, those things that actually keep your car gripping to the road, we scrimp and save. We’ve all been there…

Wow, really? That much for a tyre? I think I’ll go for the standard, cheaper ones.

Yet, these car components should really be where we spend a little bit more money if possible. Good quality tyres are essential. My advice, if your going to save money on car parts, this is not the place.

So that’s my 7 top tips for safe driving with the kids. That being said, I want to leave you with a short list of the obvious things that didn’t make my top 5 list!

  • Make sure the child locks are on.
  • Make sure the seat belt is done up properly.
  • Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Don’t use your phone at all whilst driving… even on hands free because your mind is still on the conversation, not the road!
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