I wonder if anybody else has noticed how many homeschoolers are involved
in auto accidents. Maybe itís just in our area, but our homeschooling
community has suffered terribly on the highways. In addition to the usual
fender benders, we have seen permanent disabilities and even the tragic
loss of lives. My theory is that we are on the road with our families
more than most people because we arenít at school or on the job. Being
adventure oriented, my family certainly is on the road a lot.
I thought it might be appropriate to pause and reflect on some safety
reminders and ideas for saner road trips, and to share some of the things
I have learned.
1. There is a reason for seatbelts. Make wearing them a habit. Check the
infant seat regularly to be sure it is installed right. Keep seatbelts
on until the vehicle is stopped. No exceptions.
2. Keep your rear view mirror up so you can watch traffic, not kids. You
are the driver of precious cargo. Act like it.
3. Donít pull over on shoulders and stop your vehicle. Wait for an exit
or side road. If you have to stop on the interstate because the car (not
kids) blew up, get off as far as possible. WAY off.
4. If things get really tense with the kids and you feel like you are
about to explode, find a safe place to stop. Take a deep breath, and decide
if where you are going is worth it. Redirect the energy. If necessary,
find a park and forget the field trip. Scheduling too much is often stressful.
5. Drive defensively. Keep your eyes moving. Be on the lookout for swerving
cars and stay away from them. Allow extra distance between you and the
cars in front of you. I sometimes talk about whatís happening on the road,
hoping my kids can learn early that driving requires focus and concentration.
None of them is near the driverís license age, but they are learning the
rules of the road.
6. For long trips, check out the local library for really long story tapes.
Pippi Longstocking is long, fun for kids and adults, and can pass a lot
of time. Your public library should have a lot to choose from. Get something
unfamiliar to the kids.
7. Keep a supply of paper, pencils, books, games and other items available.
Hopefully, each kid can pack their own bag of items they want to take.
8. Keep a case of bottled water and crackers in the trunk. This saves
a lot of time and money when kids become unexpectedly thirsty or hungry.
9. Donít double up seatbelts. Re-think how many kids you are hauling.
Sometimes changing seating arrangements is necessary to calm a crazy trip
down. I have noticed a direct relationship between the number of extra
kids and the amount of chaos. We all want our kids to socialize but do
we have to do that in the car?
nice. If you see another driver do something really stupid, help them
out...let them go first. Rise above it.
11. Take advantage of Visitors Centers. They are helpful, friendly, free
and have lots of ideas.
12. Think about the weather. Listen to the radio. Is the trip worth it?
Do you really have to go? Risk taking in cars can be hazardous to your
13. If you are tired, stop and rest.
14. Donít drive when you are seriously upset. These distractions have
caused fatal accidents. Please have enough awareness of your emotional
state to get help when you need it. Use your resources by foot, bike,
phone, e-mail, pencil, or cab.
15. Keep your car well maintained. Walk around the vehicle and do a visual
inspection before you go. Check your fluid levels and tires. Better safe
16. Watch out on those curvy back roads. Most accidents happen close to
Art by Devaree Johnson courtesy of her parents, Karen
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