Mom at wheel, baby in car

The photographer writes: “The amazing thing is that she’s actually driving forward — at 40 mph!”

A new study finds that new mothers might be among the most distracted drivers on the road, as The Car Connection reports in an article appearing on CBS DFW. The study, conducted by American Baby and Safe Kids Worldwide, found that nearly 10% of new moms surveyed had a car accident while driving with their new baby, which is three times the rate of accidents in the general population.

The researchers polled 2,396 new mothers about their driving habits, writes Shaun Dreisbach from American Baby, in an article appearing on Parents website. She says although 63% of new moms claim they are more cautious when driving after giving birth, “the stats suggest otherwise.”

As The Car Connection writes:

In short, new moms are driving while fatigued (sleeping an average of 5 hours, 20 minutes per night), not paying attention to the speed limit, turning around to tend to the baby, three out of four moms are using their phones to text or call or read messages or emails, and doing other kinds of distracted behavior — all with baby on board.

According to news articles, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Parents magazine, and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety give the following tips to help new mothers avoid accidents on the road:

  • Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Don’t text, take calls, or check your email while driving.
  • Don’t multi-task while driving.
  • Choose the right time to do errands, to avoid the danger of being distracted by a crying baby in the car.
  • Get help. At times when it is essential for you to go out and do something that requires you to drive, ask a friend, relative, or neighbor to watch your baby.
  • Eliminate all distractions in your car. Giving in to distractions increases your risk of having an accident.
  • Do not eat or drink while driving. Keep your hands on the wheel. Wait until you are safely parked at your destination or at home to eat and drink.
  • Do not turn around while you are driving to tend to your baby. The tendency to immediately turn to tend to a crying child may only take a few seconds, but can result in tragedy. Instead of risking disaster, pull off the road, where and when it is safe to do so, and tend to baby then.
  • If you are not able to get enough sleep at night and feel exhausted during the day, take naps at home; do not get behind the wheel when you are tired.
  • Drive within the speed limit. When you are distracted by thoughts about things you need to do and places you need to go, it is easy to drive too fast.

“That few extra seconds saved by speeding won’t make that much of a difference in the time at home,” notes the article on The Car Connection, “but it can make the difference between life and death on the road.”

Image by abardwell (Andrew Bardwell).

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