When you are driving with your children, you are not the only one in the car who can be injured in a car accident in Wisconsin. Your children can be victims of a collision as well and potentially suffer severe injuries with permanent complications. The only way you can ensure that your children will never be hurt in a car accident is to never drive with them, which is not practical or realistic. You can take safety precautions to reduce your chance of being involved in a collision and to protect your children from harm if you are in an accident.
Use Appropriate Child Seats for their Ages and Weights
If your children are small enough to need safety seats, make sure the seats they are in are appropriate for their sizes and oriented the correct way in your vehicle. Children age 12 and under are safest in the back seat.
Until your child is one year old or 22 pounds, he or she should be in a rear-facing car seat. Once a child’s height or weight exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendation for his or her forward-facing car seat, he or she should use a booster seat. Most children are ready to ride with just an adult seatbelt by age eight, but some are not large enough to ride without a booster seat until age 10.
Follow Posted Traffic Laws
Obeying the posted traffic signs protects you and all others on the roadway, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Come to a full stop at every red light and stop sign, drive within the speed limit, and comply with all other signs like yield and merge signs.
Do Not Drive Drunk, Distracted, or Drowsy
Just like obeying the posted traffic signs is safest for you, your passengers, and all others on the roadway, it is important that you are in a safe state of mind when you drive. This means driving only when you are alert enough to safely operate a motor vehicle and choosing not to drive if you are under the influence of alcohol or another drug. Using your cell phone and allowing yourself to become distracted by other sources like eating, drinking, and your vehicle’s radio can also put you and your passengers at an increased risk of being involved in an accident.
Be Mindful of Safety Recalls
Visit recalls.gov and sign up for email notifications about new safety recalls to keep yourself aware of all new child safety seat and vehicle recalls as they are issued. Having a faulty part on your vehicle replaced or repaired can reduce your chance of causing an accident and replacing an insufficient car seat can protect your child from injury if you are involved in one.
Keep Up on your Vehicle’s Maintenance
A well-maintained vehicle is a safe vehicle. Be sure to keep your tires appropriately inflated at all times and to replace your brake pads as necessary. Bald tires, worn brakes, and worn windshield wipers can all increase your likelihood of being involved in a collision.
Model Safe Driving Behavior
Before you know it, your children will be teenagers and driving on their own. As a parent, you want to be sure that your children are safe when they get behind the wheel. One of the most effective ways to do this is to model safe driving behavior like wearing your seat belt and maintaining a safe following distance with other vehicles. When your children ride in your car, they see everything you do. If they see you using your cell phone while driving, speeding, and making other unsafe driving choices, they will be more likely to make these choices themselves.
Talk about the consequences of unsafe driving, and be sure to go beyond your personal consequences for them if you catch them speeding or using the phone while they drive. Talk about the fines and other legal consequences for speeding and drunk driving and the injuries they can sustain or cause others to suffer if they are involved in a collision.
Work with an Experienced Appleton Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or your child are injured in a car accident, work with an experienced Appleton car accident attorney to file and pursue a personal injury claim. Contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation in our office, during which we can discuss your case in greater detail and determine the most effective way for you to move forward with your claim.