There’s no doubt about it: Driving is fun, but it’s also a major responsibility. For new parents, this responsibility really hits home. Buying and installing the right car seat is a basic requirement for keeping baby safe in the car, but that’s only the start! This is why now is the perfect time to review helpful apps, maintenance needs, safe driving habits, and more.
Schedule Maintenance and Upkeep
Regular maintenance and upkeep is something you should be doing anyway, but it’s smart to double-check that you’re staying on top of it. Regular upkeep includes changing your oil and oil filter, plus checking tires, fluids, belts and hoses. You should also be familiar with your vehicle owner’s manual and the scheduled maintenance it needs. For instance, Land Rovers need certain types of scheduled maintenance every 15,000 to 30,000 miles including routine inspections for fluid levels, tires, air filters and other important components.
Another important thing to consider is whether your vehicle has ever had any recalls, as well as maintenance you can anticipate on older vehicles. If you have an older vehicle, Fox News recommends keeping an eye out for warning signs that key functions like brakes and electrical components may need attention.
Complete Insurance Coverage
Insurance isn’t the most exciting thing to think about, which is why many people simply choose a policy and forget it. However, you may be paying too much, or you may not have enough coverage. To save money, some drivers make the mistake of going with lower coverage, which may not fully protect your vehicle, especially if you ever have an incident that involves an uninsured driver. That’s why this is a good time to take a look at your auto insurance policy and determine if you should shop around for better coverage.
We recommend looking at established companies that have a good track record and ratings. Two of the best-known companies, State Farm and Allstate, fall into this category. State Farm has been around since 1922 and has an A++ rating, with an 18% market share. Allstate was founded in 1931 and has an A+ rating with an 11% market share. Your best bet is to review these criteria from several companies so you can be sure you’re getting the coverage you need at a good price.
Keep It Clean and Clutter-Free
New parents often go into nesting mode, cleaning their homes to get ready for a baby, and it’s smart to do the same thing with your car. You may not think of cleanliness as being a safety issue, but it’s important to realize that anything that’s loose in your car could be a projectile in a crash, posing a risk to you and your child. Plus, a dirty car is more likely to be germy, which is the last thing you want with a newborn around!
Brush Up on Safe Driving
It never hurts to brush up on safe driving practices, and sometimes all it takes is being aware of simple habits to avoid collisions. For example, Parents recommends keeping your gaze higher when driving so you’re aware of what’s happening with traffic well in advance. The other thing to be aware of is that most of us have more distractions in our vehicles than we used to, whether that’s devices like smartphones or the distraction of a crying baby (and later, a toddler demanding snacks). It’s best to limit these distractions ahead of time if possible.
Use Your Phone Safely
Handheld phone usage while driving is not only dangerous, it’s against the law. However, there are now ways you can use your phone hands free, and it can can prove beneficial for you and your family while driving. For example, you can use your phone’s GPS if you get lost, call an emergency contact if the need arises, or run a helpful app that alerts you of upcoming traffic or plays sounds that can help your baby sleep. If you don’t have a reliable smartphone that can handle these situations, you may consider getting an upgrade. Samsung’s line of Galaxy S10 phones lets you charge without a cable, and most Android phones let you run Android Auto, which integrates with your car’s system, and features a small collection of the most helpful apps to encourage safe driving. Apple phones also help you reduce distractions while driving with their “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode, which silences incoming calls, texts, and notifications.
Car Seat Safety
Last but certainly not least, car seat safety is paramount to safe driving with children. You can search for services in your area that offer a car seat inspection to ensure it’s safe for your child. It’s also crucial to buckle the seat properly every time and to be aware that heavy clothing or blankets shouldn’t be underneath straps since they can become compressed in a crash.
Installing and using your car seat safely is a good start, but there is so much more to consider. Driving with a baby on board can be scary for new parents. As long as you take these tips to heart, though, you can be confident that your little one is as safe as possible on the road.
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