“Are we there yet?”
“Dad, are we there yet?”
Come one, we all know the stereotypical car journey where the children are asking this question incessantly until you finally snap? When I was a child, my brother and I used to sing a song in the back of the car that went something like this:
“I know a song that will get on your nerves, I know a song that will get get get on your nerves.”
We’d sing that on repeat for large chunks of time and guess what? It did get on my dad’s nerves.
Driving with children is a minefield of distractions. Whether it’s crying, constant talking, throwing or rattling toys or anything else, it can be very easy to take your mind off the road.
On top of that, the curse of the mobile phone reigns over every driver out there. It rings, pings or vibrates and all of a sudden we’re compelled to look at it and even answer it! It might ring, but why do we have to answer it immediately? What’s the urgency? I put the phone on silent and leave it in a bag away from me, in the boot or another seat. That way I have no way of looking at it, even if I wanted to.
As a dad, I don’t think I take driving seriously enough. Sure, I’m conscientious and abide by the highway code. I don’t take unnecessary risks and I certainly don’t speed (when Ted’s in the car at least), but I never think about it in great detail. It is dangerous. Driving is dangerous. There’s no 2 ways about it. Every time I put Ted in his car seat and pull away, I am taking a risk. And there may be times when that risk isn’t necessary at all.
Goodyear are running a campaign to highlight its Driving Academy for young drivers. They have carried out some research amongst young drivers, that I think, you’ll find staggering.
- 42% have used a mobile behind the wheel
- 28% did not tell their parents about the accident or near miss
- 23% of young drivers said the risk of being prosecuted did not affect their mobile phone use behind the wheel, stats on using social media and music streaming sites behind the wheel
The Most Common Distractions for Young Drivers
- Eating (48%)
- Looking at something outside the car that caught my eye (e.g. seeing a friend) (44%)
- Used a mobile phone to call, text or use apps (42%)
- Changing a CD or radio station (33%)
- Used Spotify (or other music app) (27%)
- Looked at a confusing road sign (27%)
- Turning round to speak to someone in the back seat (26%)
- Daydreaming (26%)
- Applying make-up or skin care products (13%)
- Styling or brushing hair (12%)
Although these stats are based on young drivers, I’m certain that there will be many parents guilty of doing some of this as well. I think if they were to survey parents, distractions from the kids in the backseats would be pretty high on that list.
As a result of these stats, Goodyear have bought out an innovative and creative mobile game designed to try and educate drivers about the dangers of distractions. I’ve been playing it, and it’s pretty decent. You can select whether you want to drive through the countryside, a town or a city and it will provide you with a number of different distractions accordingly. Your task is to keep your eyes on things they should be on!
During the game you’re also provided with loads of stats, most of which are quite eye-opening. You can see some them below in the graphic.
My dad was the person who taught me how to drive, and generally I have fond memories of my lessons with him. I think he did a pretty good job (although my wife would think otherwise…) and in many ways, it’s made me look forward to when the time comes for me to teach Ted. As his dad, it is my duty to make sure he understands the risks of driving. I’ll be using this Goodyear game if it’s still around, that’s for sure!