Reduce back-seat distractions on Christmas journeys, says GEM Motoring Assist

Posted on December 17th, 2013 by GEM Motoring Assist

Road safety and breakdown cover specialist GEM Motoring Assist has put together some tips for minimising back-seat squabbles and reducing risk on Christmas road journeys. The advice follows the recent publication of research from Australia, suggesting that children are 12 times more distracting to drivers than talking on a mobile phone.

GEM chief executive David Williams MBE comments: “We readily recognise some distractions, such as speaking on a hand-held phone or texting, as dangerous. These actions carry fines of £100 with three penalty points. But many of us are guilty of overlooking the distractions that can come from children in the back seats.

“In order to reduce risk on a journey, we need to be in control when we’re driving and accept that all our focus must be on the driving task. That means we must make a positive decision not to turn round, not to unwrap sweets and not to engage in distracting activities.

“There’s only 100% concentration available – so by refusing to allow any of that to be taken away from the task of driving, we’re maximising our safety as drivers, we’re keeping our children safe and we’re reducing risk for those around us.”

GEM’s tips for safer family journeys this Christmas:

  • Encourage your children to plan the journey and to choose the items they would like to have easily accessible. Let them select the snacks they fancy (though avoid anything sticky or smelly).
  • Have a family chat before you leave.
  • Explain how long the journey is likely to take. Let the children know how many breaks you’re planning and what you’ll do on those breaks (stop for lunch, or just a quick loo visit).
  • Drivers: delegate any discussions with the children to the adult in the front passenger seat. If you’re the only adult, then have a chat before you leave and explain that by staying calm and quiet, they’ll be helping to ensure a safer, smoother journey.
  • Encourage them to give you as much notice as possible if they need the loo or perhaps feel unwell.
  • If arguments break out during the journey, don’t try to continue driving. Pull over when it’s safe and sort things out.