Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Family Car

Tips for Being a Role Model for Your Kids When You’re Behind the Wheel

(contributed post)

Parents are role models in every facet of their life. Your little ones are depending on your guidance, whether it is financial or moral. It’s easy to forget that driving falls into this category, too. Getting behind the wheel is such a regular part of life that it’s sometimes weird to think your kids are watching and imitating your behavior, especially the teenager in the passenger seat who is desperate to pass her test and gain some independence.

Instructors will get them through the practical part, but it’s you who will mold them in the long-term. With that in mind, here are some tips for setting a good example while driving.

Be Safety Conscious

Everyone has been a teenager behind the wheel of a car for the first time. The temptation is to care more about the music pumping through the stereo or their cell phones than to care about being safe. However, if safety rules are not followed, everyone knows that car and motorcycle injuries can easily happen. And, when an accident happens, we often ask ourselves, “What could we have done to avoid it?”  Teenage drivers need to know safety as a practice. A lack of safety-consciousness from you could result in them being blase. Make a point of buckling up first, as well as adjusting mirrors and wearing a helmet, if on a motorcycle. Obey the speed limit, also.

Vent Afterwards

Another motorist cuts you off, and you may let out obscenities. For plenty of drivers, this is a regular day at the office. Road rage isn’t innate though because it is controllable. Therefore, it is a habit that develops over time or from watching those around us. The worst thing about losing your cool behind the wheel with your kids in the car is that they may think it’s okay. Moms and dads don’t get angry, so when they do there must be a good reason. Teens can learn this, and so it gives them an excuse to act the same whenever they experience frustration on the road. Keep cool and carry on, especially if there is someone else in the car.

Follow The Rules

Experienced motorists often improvise because they are comfortable in the driver’s seat. While this may work for you, there’s a good chance that it will get a new driver into trouble. Think of resting your arm on the window ledge while cruising down the highway. Or casually going a couple of miles over the speed limit. Who hasn’t done 55mph in a 50mph zone? To stop kids from picking up bad habits, switch your driving style. Keep hands at eleven and one or ten and two, and never speed. Be a monk on the roads.

Explain Why

Granted, there will be times when things go wrong. In these situations, you are bound to react and lose your temper. Sometimes, the occasion gets the better of the greatest role models. Don’t make excuses. Instead, calmly explain what happened and why, and why they shouldn’t make the same error. Hopefully, detailing the incident should highlight the mistake ,and make it obvious that it shouldn’t be copied. 

How do you act when your impressionable teen is in the car? Are you an angel or do you need to switch tact?

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Which Car Is Best For Your Family? 3 Tips When Choosing

(contributed post)

Choosing a family car is not like choosing a car for yourself, when you were single or even before kids. For one thing, you probably don’t have the money to splash out on something fancy when you’ve got a college fund to save for! Instead, think past what you want and focus in on exactly what it is you all need.

There will be time later on when the kids are grown to get a snazzy sports car, but for now, you will need to settle for something a little more practical. Think about how you want to use a car and what your budget is realistically. Though you can get a lot for your money these days, a car is not the be all and end all of family life and should fit in with your other financial obligations.

Why Motorcycles are a No (For You and the Kids)

Obviously, you can’t get a baby seat onto the back of a motorcycle and nor should you try! But, also think about hanging up your helmet, too. Motorcycles can be dangerous, and if you were to get into an accident, you could be in real trouble. As a parent, this could have a massive impact on your family. Even with motorcycle accident lawyers that can help recover the cost of any treatments you require, you will never regain the time you lost with your kids if you are injured.

The thing is, and the reason that this small section is included, is that many men can feel that they are losing who they are when they become parents. While we often talk about how women can maintain their sense of self throughout motherhood, there isn’t as much self-help for the guys. Many men seem to think that the antidote to being a parent is to take risks, and motors can feature highly from the teenager’s moped to the midlife crisis car. The point is that it isn’t the motorcycle that makes the guy who he is.

So, motorcycles out of the way – what are we looking for here?

Car Safety is Your Main Priority

Once upon a time, car safety was mainly about being able to slam on the breaks and swerve in time. These days, it is a lot more technical, and there are all kinds of ways that cars have improved. If you are looking for the safest car, you can easily research consumer safety reports, warnings and tests on the Internet. 

Though many cars advertise the powers of their media center (and, let’s be honest, being able to play DVDs in the backseat is pretty cool), you should be looking at the safety features and working out what is worth the money. What is really cool about a lot of media center screens is that they also have a rearview camera to help you see what is behind you before backing up as well as a proximity alarm, if any car or person is coming near the vehicle. Hands-free calling and voice command will also keep your attention on the road where it belongs.

Older road users might think that all this tech is just a fancy way of making cars more expensive, but look carefully at your insurance because many of these safety features could end up saving you money.

Higher Seats Are Easier to Manage

First things first: if you are going to wrestle a howling toddler into a car seat, it will always be easier to wrestle them into a seat you can easily reach. Saloon cars are great once you are in, but the number of times you will bash your head against the roof of the car while trying to strap all the kids in will get old quickly.

Instead, look for a higher car like a 4×4, which will allow you to get the kids in without a fuss: you won’t bang your head, and everyone will be happier. Another advantage of this kind of car is that you will also be able to pack plenty of stuff into the trunk when you are traveling with your family.

There is a downside, though, and that is simply that bigger cars cost more. So, if you can afford to splash out on a more expensive car and save your back, then do.

Sliding Doors Are Your Friend

If you can find a model of car with sliding doors ,then you are in for a real win. Car doors are definitely high on the list of irritants for parents, especially when there are limited space in a parking lot. With a sliding door, you won’t have to worry so much about having room on either side of the car.

Sliding doors are also great because they are much less likely to catch in the wind or the door closing on a family member accidentally. In other words, you get maximum access with minimum fuss – and what’s not to like in that?

When you think about how much time you spend getting in and out of your family car, ferrying your kids – and other people’s kids – to all kinds of events and just driving yourself, it actually adds up really quickly. It is well worth taking some time to choose carefully and imagine how the cars various features will work for you and your loved ones.

 

One last tip: take a carseat to the showroom with you to see how it will fit in a prospective car. Honestly, some a brilliant and obvious winners but some just look like that until you realise that once the booster seat is in, nothing else will ever fit.

 

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