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Driving Is No Child’s Play

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When setting out in a car with children, whether for an outing or to drop them to school, one needs to be more careful than otherwise.

Of primary importance is your attitude. You must set an example for children by showing them what good driving means, since eventually they too are going to be driving when they grow up. Thus, you must make it a habit of wearing the seat belt. You must not use your mobile phone to make or receive calls. You must neither jump the red signal, nor enter the yellow box until the way ahead is clear. And you must not speed or get into a race with another driver on the road. This might scare the children – and imagine if your car were to go out of control.

Remember, children watch and take their cues from their parents and peers. Indeed you could explain to children things about all the actions mentioned above, the reasons for observing those rules, and thus inculcate and develop in them the good habits of driving from an early age.

You must also never allow children to sit in the front seat, or let them touch the gears or steering wheel when the vehicle is on the move. Curiosity often gets the better of a child’s instincts. Children should always be made to sit in the back seat, the small ones in their baby seats, and the child lock should be in operation.

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Moreover, they should never be allowed to lean out of the windows or keep their hands hanging out. You should impress upon them the need to keep themselves inside the car and the dangers of leaning out since a passing vehicle might hit or ‘graze’ them with unfortunate consequences.

When dropping children to school, park your vehicle properly, even if at some distance from the school gate, rather than quickly dropping them in front of the gate and speeding away. This amounts to poor manners on more counts than one. For one thing, it puts other parents at an inconvenience since, until you move off, they are required to wait for you to move themselves. And for another, it is also dangerous for your children, especially if it involves their having to cross the road to enter the school. So, park properly and walk them up to the school gate.

The same applies to your going to school to pick them up. Park properly and walk them from the school gate to the car rather than expecting them to come out of the gate, look for you and walk up to you, which might involve having to cross the road as well.

A final word about children, especially small children on the road. You may not find them loitering about on highways but in the bylanes of residential areas they can sometimes be seen either playing soccer or just hanging out. If you are ever faced with such a situation, blow the horn to draw their attention and at the same time slow down to the minimum possible speed. Remember, children, like cats, have their own whims.

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