Categories:   Useful Automotive Information
Top Car Safety and Maintenance Tips for New Parents
Becoming parents is an exciting time. It can also be overwhelming as you are now responsible for a little one’s life in every way. When it comes to driving, a properly maintained car and safe driving practices like using an appropriate app and avoiding speeding can help ensure your family is protected when you’re on the road.
Find Affordable Car Insurance
As a new parent, your top priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of your children. And when it comes to car insurance, one of the most important aspects to consider is your coverage limits. When deciding on the right level of protection, it's important to take a number of factors into account. Consider your current financial situation and how much money you can realistically afford to spend on insurance premiums each month. Next, think about what types of risks you may be exposed to; for example, if you regularly drive in moderate traffic or live in an area with higher rates of car theft or accidents.
Use Your Phone as a Driving Assistant
We aren't suggesting that you drive and talk or text. However, smartphones and their vast library of available apps can be essential for emergencies and GPS, and they can also calm your baby with soothing music or entertain your kids with ebooks and exploration apps. These days, many smartphones come with integrated features that work with your vehicle to ensure hands-free usage.
Apple has a safety setting known as “Do Not Disturb While Driving,” which blocks incoming communications and notifies the callers that you’re driving. There’s also the Android Auto feature, which simplifies controls and offers car mode that locks the phone while driving.
A Car Charger
Obviously, smartphones need to be hands-free while driving, but they can also be a great navigational tool. That’s why a car charger is just what you need to keep from running out of juice before you reach your destination – while keeping your hands off the phone and safely on the steering wheel.
Pick the Right Car Seat and Install it Properly
Choose a car seat with good safety ratings and one that’s the right size for your child. It will also need to be installed properly. According to Consumer Reports, it’s not uncommon for new parents to misuse car seats; 73 percent of parents think their child’s car seat is installed properly, whereas a National Child Restraint Use Special Study found that 45 percent of the installations are flawed. Oftentimes local police and fire department personnel will help you install a car seat, or you can find a Child Passenger Safety technician in your area to help.
Stick to Your Maintenance Schedule
Read your vehicle’s owner manual to know how often you should go in for oil changes, engine tune-ups, brake inspections, and other maintenance. Don’t be tempted to skip routine maintenance, such as changing the oil and checking the air filter, just because your car is running well. For the protection of yourself and your family, you don’t want to risk breaking down or getting into an accident because of mechanical failure.
Another aspect of maintaining your car’s driving condition is parking in a garage. If you don’t have a garage, consider building one. Not only will your vehicle be out of the elements and away from dangers such as falling tree limbs, but a garage is an attractive feature to homebuyers and could add value to your home if the time ever comes to sell.
Check Your Tires Often
Check your tire pressure and tread depth to help avoid blowouts on the road. You can use a penny or quarter to check the depth, or look at the tread wear indicator on your tires if they have it. Don’t hesitate to bring your vehicle to the mechanic shop if you discover anything problematic.
With precious cargo on board, most parents tend to drive a little more slowly and carefully, which is good. Speeding gives you less time to react and also increases the severity of accidents. Driving with care every day will safeguard your family and allow your vehicle to run longer without repair. Most of the wear and tear on your vehicle occurs in the first few minutes of driving, so try to consolidate your shopping and other errands into a longer trip instead of taking multiple short trips each day.
Also, don't try to multitask on the road. If your little one needs attention in the back seat, pull over to a safe location rather than turning around while driving.
Now that you have a baby, driving safety is more important than ever. Of course, you can never completely protect your family from accidents. But by maintaining your car properly, driving carefully and defensively, and using your phone as a driving assistant, you can reduce your risk for mechanical failures, car crashes, and other problems on the road.