Are you preparing for parenthood? Chances are, you’ve already taken some steps to prepare your finances, your home and yourself for your baby’s arrival. But have you thought about how to prepare your car and your driving habits for a safe and sound journey home? Proper auto maintenance and safety is one of the simplest ways you can protect your family from that very first trip home to all of those little rides around town. If you want to improve your knowledge of these critical subjects, here are a few car and driver safety essentials you need:

Complete Auto Insurance Coverage

If you’re a new parent, you may be trying to trim your expenses, and your full coverage auto insurance policy may be the first to go. However, despite its costs, having full coverage instead of just a liability policy could be worth it if you ever get into an accident. That’s because a combined coverage of comprehensive and collision will provide more assistance with vehicle repairs/replacement and medical bills, and without this added assistance, you could be left to foot those expenses on your own. On average, accident-related expenses can cost your family $820, which could be enough to throw your monthly expenses and financial goals off track. This is why having full coverage insurance can provide some needed financial peace of mind. Just because you’ve got full coverage doesn’t mean you can’t shop for a better deal. When comparing insurers, look for well-established companies with strong AM Best financial strength ratings.

Smart Phone Access While Driving 

A smartphone can make driving safer and more convenient, but you need to be smart about how you use it while driving. Smartphones can allow you to contact emergency services, use GPS and even play soothing sounds for fussy infants in the car, but it’s also helpful to have hands-free features that prevent potentially dangerous distractions. Luckily, there are useful apps like Android Auto, which locks access to certain features while you are driving. This app will likely run on a Samsung Galaxy 10 phone, but not every phone in this line offers the same features and price, so be sure to compare some models before purchasing. You can also find similar safe driving features in other smartphones like those made by Apple

Consistent Automobile Maintenance 

Just like the way you drive, how you maintain your car can also affect your family’s safety. Cars usually come with a suggested maintenance schedule, but you can also find helpful maintenance lists online, so you know which tasks to take care of on a regular basis. You may already be taking care of these to-dos, but if not, consider setting reminders on your phone so that you don’t miss out on something important. One thing you should always pay attention to when driving is the state of your tires. Checking for tire problems, like incorrect pressure or uneven wear, can help you catch issues before they become major repairs, and can even help you prevent potential accidents caused by blowouts. 

Defensive and Safe Driving Behaviors  

If you can stop using your phone while driving, you can greatly reduce your risk of causing an accident while your family is in the car. Still, phone usage isn’t the only distracted driving habit that can prove to be dangerous, or even deadly, on the road. Manual and visual distractions, such as carrying on a conversation with your child or adjusting the radio dial, can reduce your reaction times, as well, and result in an accident. Parents should put a stop to these risky driving behaviors before they put their children in the car. Additionally, make sure you are aware of defensive driving skills that can keep you safe when faced with inclement weather and irresponsible drivers, and keep your family safe as well. These behaviors include driving with intention and avoiding the temptation to drive over the speed limit. 

Car safety may be the last thing on your mind. However, considering how often you use your car and how often your little one is along for the ride, this really should be a focus on your preparations for parenthood. Reducing your accident risk is a simple way to ensure a healthy and happy future for your entire family! 

WORDS BY DANIEL SHERWIN