Part of a nanny’s responsibilities often includes driving her charges to and from school, activities and clubs while they’re on the clock. In such situations, even drivers with plenty of experience and clean driving records can feel a bit of apprehension, as the idea of being held accountable for the safety and wellbeing of a child while speeding down the highway in a car is a bit daunting to some. In fact, a report from the World Health Organization states that the most prolific killer of children around the world is traffic accidents, with drowning, fires and burns, falls and poisoning following respectively. With such sobering information available, it becomes apparent that the most important thing a nanny can do to protect her charges is to make every effort to prevent car accidents from happening in the first place.
Obey Speed Limits and Traffic Laws
The simplest rules are often those that are the most neglected, with speed limits and basic traffic laws earning a place on that list. It’s easy to look down at your speedometer and find that you’re exceeding the speed limit without even realizing it, but you should always make sure that you’re diligent about adhering to those guidelines, especially when you’re tasked with transporting your charges from one place to the next. Even if you’re running late, don’t push that needle above the speeds deemed safest.
Move Away from Reckless Drivers
Defending your spot in traffic and refusing to yield to a dangerous or reckless driver can be almost instinctual for some, but it’s wise to keep in mind that allowing dangerous drivers to pass you or moving away from them to the best of your abilities is actually a proactive measure to remove your charges from danger. When you’re cut off or are faced with a driver so insistent that they’re operating their vehicles irresponsibly, it’s best to just back off and allow them to put as much ground between you as possible.
Exercise Extra Caution in Dangerous Weather
Even if you’re a seasoned pro at driving in inclement weather or winter conditions, keep in mind that other drivers may not be. When rains are torrential enough to impact visibility or there’s ice and snow on the ground, be sure that you’re exercising an extra measure of caution while you’re on the road with your charges.
Maintain Your Vehicle
If you drive your personal vehicle for work and are reimbursed for mileage and maintenance, be sure that you actually keep up with that maintenance so that a mechanical failure doesn’t lead to a collision or loss of control. Your employers should be responsible for maintenance on a vehicle that they furnish for work use, but it’s wise to keep an eye on it to make sure that such details aren’t slipping their minds due to their hectic schedules and demanding careers.
Use Turn Signals
Your turn signal is intended to let other drivers where you’re going, which is why you should use it well before switching lanes or making a turn to prevent accidents. Flipping your signal on as you’re already drifting into another lane or applying your brakes to make a turn provides that much-needed indicator a bit too late. Neglecting to use it can not only net you a citation, but can also cause potentially serious accidents.
Don’t Get Distracted
Driving with children in the car, especially if they’re clamoring for attention or arguing amongst themselves, presents a host of potential distractions and dangers. However, it’s important for your charges to understand the dangers of distracting an adult while they’re driving, and that you refrain from fiddling with the radio to appease them or trying to watch their antics while you’re speeding down the highway.
Take a Defensive Driving Course
Most cities offer some type of defensive driving course, and it’s a good idea for nannies to take them. These courses teach you the most effective methods of avoiding accidents, obstacles that could cause accidents and driving in a manner that increases your chances of arriving at your destination safely. In addition to providing you with valuable driving and highway safety knowledge, taking these courses can also be an impressive addition to your resume.
Even if you’re unerringly cautious and make every effort to avoid the dangerous driving of other motorists, you may not be able to prevent an accident. That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that all of your charges are in the proper safety seats and harnesses, so that they’re afforded as much protection as possible in the event of an unavoidable accident.
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