Driven to distraction

Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain’s top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. This week he urges motorists to stay focused and not get distracted by the kids in the back:

Following too close to the car in front limits the time you have to react. Leave a minimum gap of two seconds between you and them and you’ll be more able to spot hazards and keep your kids safe. On the motorway, if you can read their number plate, you’re driving too close.

Keep them occupied by introducing games that promote and reward quiet behaviour without needing the driver’s direct involvement.

Portable games consoles or in-car DVD players will keep kids occupied for hours. But don’t forget the headphones – the soundtracks can be just as distracting as the children.

If you are planning a long journey, make sure you’re organised – take plenty of food and drink to avoid constant demands from the back seats.

Allow extra stops. Find somewhere for them to stretch their legs and let off steam, such as a playground or a park.

Have a plastic bag (without any holes) with you in case of travel sickness.

A second adult in the car to look after the children makes a massive difference, leaving the driver to concentrate on driving.

Don’t turn round to deal with fighting kids while you’re still in motion – find somewhere to stop first.

Rodger said: “Kids can be noisy, disruptive and distracting, especially if they get bored. The trick is to keep them occupied as much as possible and to keep your attention on the road.”