By Charlotte Hope, Lifestyle Editor @TLE_Lifestyle
I don’t have children but I do have to avoid the careless hazardous driving around the time of the school run. More than a quarter of mums have had an accident after being distracted by their children, on the way.
A study carried out among 1,500 driving mums also found one in five have narrowly avoided striking another vehicle whilst changing radio channels at the kid’s request. And school run mums are losing their concentration on the road because they often have to reach for toys thrown from the back seat.
Siblings bickering can also distract mum on the journey to school, meaning she’s not able to pay as much attention as she should on the vehicle in front.
Melanie Gray, spokeswoman (and mum) for Blackcircles.com which commissioned the survey as part of Road Safety Week, said: ‘’It is terrifying that almost three in ten mums have had an accident while on the school run.
‘’And many school run mums will agree that the roads can be a little crazy around the school drop off times. ’During the mad rush in the morning children can be at their most distracting as they are excited to get to school and see their friends. We commissioned the survey as while we can’t always guarantee our children will sit silently in the car – we can ensure our cars are as responsive as possible if we do have to brake suddenly.’’
Along with the 28 per cent who have had an accident from the distraction of their children, more than a half of mums have had a near-miss from similar reasons. Almost one in ten mums have nearly lost control of the car when their child has reached out and grabbed their hair. And arguments between mum and child have regularly had the driver swerving to miss oncoming traffic, as has the child screaming at the top of their voice.
Rummaging around in a bag for an item the child has requested is a problem for one in six mums on the road. Despite the distractions from the children, nearly two thirds of mums admitted they could pay more attention to the other road users when out on the school run. Other moving cars are usually the victims of mums losing their concentration on the roads as well as parked cars and people.
Walls have been found to be what one in ten mums are swerving to avoid as well as animals such as cats and dogs. They might sometimes even swerve to miss an unlucky cyclist while on the way to drop their children off at the school gates.
From the results of the study, near-misses aren’t infrequent as mums have witnessed other drivers avoid three collisions in the past. Almost two thirds of driving mums confessed they are more nervous when their children are in the car with them and 78 per cent felt more stressed in the same situation. But despite the troubles and distractions mums are caused by the children, less than half have been punished for their bad behaviour.
Children can’t take all the blame for the danger on the route to school as half of mums have admitted they’ve been had close calls on the roads from bad weather conditions. And a third of mums have had either a crash or a near-miss because of a worn or flat tyre on their vehicle.
The Blackcircles.com spokeswoman added: ‘’The majority of mums in our survey will remember spending a lot of time picking the safest car seat for their baby. But most surveyed were not aware that the age and state of their car tyres have just as much of an impact on theirs and their family’s safety. Cars with new tyres can stop up to ten meters sooner than those with worn tyres. A ten metre difference in breaking distances is huge when it comes to being distracted on the school run and being able to stop in time.’’
MOST COMMON WAYS KIDS DISTRACT THEIR MUM IN THE CAR
- Getting mum to grab a toy they’ve thrown into the front seat
- Kicking the back of the driver’s seat
- Getting mum to change the radio station
- Siblings bickering in the back seat
- Asking mum to rummage in a bag for something they want