How is your driving speed today?  As adults we do adopt some naughty habits when driving.  Seeing the speed limit as a speed to achieve, rather than a guidance and a maximum limit.  So why do you think we change how we drive once you have children in the car?

Very interestingly, recent research highlights[i] improvements in driving safety after having a child.

Child travel safety experts at Maxi-Cosi are encouraging Britons to ‘drive like a parent’ when they get behind the steering wheel.  #DriveLikeAParent during Road Safety Week and beyond….

Young toddler and baby in car seat

Key findings….including speed..

  • Despite tiredness, distractions and stress; parents lead the way in road safety by increasing their positive habits
  • Research has found that over half of Brits* don’t check they’re within the speed limit or check their seat belts before having children
  • New social experiment video shows how carrying ‘precious cargo’ could help avoid potential car crashes: maxi-cosi.co.uk/DriveLikeAParent

The survey of 1,000 parents, mostly admitted to significant improvements in their driving with a baby on board. A third (36%) follow safety precautions more closely, almost half (45%) pay more attention to other vehicles and 34% are more aware of road signs.

Young baby in car seat

To put this to the test,Maxi-C osi, manufacturers of child car seats for over 30 years, conducted a social experiment with the British School of Motoring  to put non-parents and parents against each other. The experiment backed up the research, with the parent-drivers being more aware of the road and watching their speed.

“When we have children we try to keep safe in a more conscious way. When a child becomes agitated you might expect the parent to be distracted. But the parents that took part in this social experiment described the ability to consciously shift their focus from what was happening in the car to really concentrate on their driving. This makes them pay more attention to their surroundings and stops them from going onto auto-pilot. If everyone thought like this, the roads would be a much safer place.”

Family psychologist Dr Rachel Andrew who oversaw the experiment

As part of Road Safety Week, Maxi-Cosi is sharing top tips on how to ‘drive like a parent’, making every day journeys less dangerous for all road users.

  1. Allow more time. You can’t always predict traffic jams or road works; so to ensure you’re not worrying about being late and tempted to reach for your phone to let others know, plan in advance. Leave plenty of time to reach your destination stress-free
  2. Keep calm. While parents are used to dealing with a crying baby or an attention-seeking child in the car, non-parents may be distracted by another driver or experience road rage which can cause a lapse in concentration. Don’t sweat the small stuff, listening to relaxing music can help drivers focus on the road
  3. Belt up. Mums and Dads spend a lot of time making sure their precious passenger is clipped in properly – and leading by example. Do the same for yourself and anyone else travelling with you – you never know when you may be forced to make an emergency stop
  4. Remember the kids on the road, not just in the car. Parents may drive more safely because of who they’re driving around in their car, but there is also a consciousness around who may be on the path. Realising that your speed can kill should stop you from putting your foot down in a hurry
  5. Plan ahead. Parents are used to planning their days with precision and this includes knowing their optimum route, as well as where they can safely stop to attend to their children if they need to. While non-parents won’t need to pack a nappy bag, having decided on a route before they set off and carrying some water in the car could come in handy if you’re caught in a jam

“It’s interesting to see the differences between parent drivers and non-parent drivers and how those results were reflected in our research. As a parent myself, I know the importance behind car safety, your little one’s life is literally in your hands. Non-parents can really learn from the habits parents develop and should treat every journey as if there is a precious cargo on board. Maxi-Cosi’s aim is to make travelling as a family an enjoyable voyage, eliminating the stress and encouraging every driver to ‘drive like a parent’.”

Andrew Ratcliffe, Maxi-Cosi UK Managing Director

Toddler in car seat

The news comes during Road Safety Week (21st – 27th November), the UK’s biggest road safety event, where parents, along with UK drivers can pledge to drive less and more safely. For more information and to view the social experiment go to www.maxi-cosi.co.uk/DriveLikeAParent

[i]  1,000 Parents of at least 1 child under 18, who could drive when they first had their child, Opinium 7th September 2016
*Based on 18.6m families in the UK