Being a parent is a daunting task and it will reflect on every single aspect of your lifestyle. One of these fields is your personal commute. Your car maintenance and driving behavior patterns need some adjustment. Sure, the driving itself hasn’t changed but you may need to switch to a more family-friendly car and keep in mind that you now have one more person in the car to worry about. All in all, here are seven tips to help you get accustomed to this change of affair.
Don’t drive tired
For a new parent, this is easier said than done. Why? Well, because you will be tired 90 percent of the time. Still, if you’re planning a tad longer trip (to a different city or going on a mini-road trip) you might want to take this into consideration. The primary driver should be the one going to bed early, while their partner might want to tend to the kids overnight. This way, you get to strategize for the road ahead and ensure everyone’s safety. While this should never be your primary plan, caffeine indeed does wonders.
Tend to your tires
Another thing you need to do is tend to your car’s tires. For starters, you need to make sure that they’re properly inflated. Also, if you haven’t changed them in a while (for instance, in the last six years) you might want to do so as soon as possible. Changing a tire is not a difficult task, however, doing so while there’s a crying baby in the car is something else entirely. This is especially true if you’re alone in the car with a child. Making this modest investment is something that can potentially save you from major trouble.
Learn how to do some minor repairs
A trip to a mechanic means staying without a family vehicle for a prolonged period of time. This can be a proper nuisance and something that you should try to avoid. Learning how to handle some minor repairs on your own can help you out with this. Car parts like quality K&N filters can be ordered online and there are so many great tutorials online that you can turn to for free knowledge. Moreover, you also need to know when a repair is out of your league. Sometimes, it’s just more cost-effective to take the car to a skilled mechanic.
Take care of your driving habits
The way you drive needs to be altered by the fact that you now have a child in the vehicle. Sharp turns and screeching of breaks are not just hazardous driving habits but also on-road behaviors that can potentially wake the baby. However, sometimes being too timid can be just as bad. Driving too carefully or too slowly can also disrupt traffic and make a lot of people nervous and anxious. This makes them drive more recklessly, thus putting you in danger. So, drive as you always did, just with a bit less tailgating and speeding.
Keep the car clean
While the cleanliness of your car should always be a priority, once you get children, this gains a whole new dimension. First, keeping the car clean means fewer bacteria that your child will get in touch with. Even dust can be a major adversary, which is why you need to be as meticulous (if not more) when it comes to the interior of your car as you are with the exterior. Also, some people just leave junk under the seats or on the back seat. Ask yourself what kind of damage could this do to a child? Small items like bottle caps can be swallowed, while cans can be particularly sharp.
Prepare for harsh weather
Every driver (even if they are not a parent) needs to be ready for a rainstorm or fog. Still, with a kid in the car, chances are that your focus will be somewhat reduced. This is why it’s vital that your tires have the right tread, that your fog lights are fully functional and that your windshield wiper blades are brand new.
As a new parent, you now have to worry more about your household budget. One of the ways to make this more effective is to start being more vigilant about your record-keeping. For instance, how many miles ago did you last change the oil? This will help you keep track of how soon you will have to repeat this, as well as allow you to anticipate this expense. Nowadays, it’s fairly easy to digitalize these efforts and make your own database.
Finally, you should probably think past your kid’s childhood and realize that kids absorb everything that we do, even when we’re unaware of it. This means that if you prefer risky driving patterns, hate wearing your seatbelt or you even get behind the wheel while drunk, this has one hidden danger that you might be unaware of. Years from now, your kid might start displaying this same behavior, which means that you’ll put your children in harm’s way, at one point in their life. As a parent, it’s your duty to think decades into the future for the wellbeing of your children.