By Daniel Sherwin
When you become a parent, you become entirely responsible for the safety and welfare of your little one. So, it only makes sense to take every measure possible to ensure that safety when they are in the car with you. To keep your family protected, here are the steps you should take before getting behind the wheel as a new parent.
Part of being a parent is planning for the expected — and the unexpected. While no one ever really expects to be involved in an accident, knowing that your car insurance covers repairs and other bills will help you be better prepared if one does happen to your family. Read through your current auto policy so you can confirm whether you are covered for repairs, replacements, and medical costs following an accident. You should also educate yourself around fault laws in your state so you will have a better understanding of insurance prices.
It’s also important to understand the factors that will determine your monthly premiums. Although it’s not easy to figure out the difference in price, there are certain factors that ultimately determine how much you’ll pay for auto insurance. For instance, people who live in urban areas typically pay more for full coverage due to the increased amount of traffic and the higher instances of crime. Additionally, people under the age of 25, as well as high-risk drivers, will face higher premiums. As such, it’s important to shop around to see if you can find auto insurance at more affordable rates before settling on a provider.
Your car needs proper maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Taking care of scheduled maintenance tasks, however, can also help you protect your loved ones on the road. Every 3,000 miles, have essential fluids and systems checked, and also consider having your oil changed (although some experts recommend 5,000 miles). You will also need to have your brakes inspected and possibly serviced after you have driven 12,000 miles, but there are some crucial checks you need to make before each road trip.
One of the most important thing is to inspect the tread on your tires and check the pressure so you will know whether you need to add air, have your tires repaired, or replace them altogether. Driving on worn out or damaged tires will put your family at risk for dangerous blowouts, so being proactive is a must. When you have an infant or small child in the car, you will also need to have a valid car seat installed. Many new parents are unaware of the implications of using an expired car seat, so make sure yours has been rated to keep your little one protected.
A well-maintained vehicle and car seat can protect your family, but it’s also up to the driver to avoid incidents on the road. No matter how long you have been driving, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on driver safety, especially when you are welcoming a new baby. For instance, you don’t want to end up stranded on the side of the road with your baby in the car, so make sure you keep your gas tank filled at all times; don’t risk driving on empty. It’s also never smart to risk driving when you haven’t gotten enough sleep. This is a huge problem for new parents, so try to find ways to improve your sleep so you can be well-rested before you get behind the wheel. Pay attention to your baby’s sleep habits so you can get him/her on a more consistent schedule and find ways to minimize disturbances. Finally, if you feel too tired to drive, don’t! Walk, take public transportation, or use a rideshare service so you can make the trip safely.
Becoming a new parent comes with a lot of new responsibilities. That includes making sure you’re responsible on the road. Your family is counting on you to keep them safe on all those trips for diapers, check-ups, and fun, so don’t let them down. Keep your car maintained, stay on top of insurance, and most importantly, practice safe driving habits whenever you are in a car.
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