If you think that cell phone use is the most distracting thing while driving, think again. Studies show that driving with kids in the car is much more distracting than using a phone, and if you are a parent in Washington this may come as no surprise.

According to Medical Daily, driving with kids is 12 times riskier than talking on a mobile device. In fact, distractions related to children can take a parent’s eyes off the road for an average of one-fifth the drive time on the road. Some of the common distractions include:

  • Glancing in the rearview mirror
  • Turning around to look in the back seat
  • Handing back food, a drink or a toy
  • Picking something the kid dropped or threw off the floor
  • Fiddling with the radio or DVD player
  • Soothing a crying baby

Parents discusses that while doing what you can to minimize kid-related distractions is challenging, it is extremely important for everyone in your vehicle and on the road. Some ways you can focus more on driving include:

  • Feeding kids and yourself before leaving the house
  • Pulling over to a safe, out-of-the-way location to retrieve items in the back seat or on the floor
  • Enforcing a “no-touch” rule in regard to GPS or DVD player while driving
  • Ignoring demands until in a parked situation
  • Placing phone in back seat or trunk, or turning it off, to prevent adding another source of distraction

Practicing safe driving is even more important in terms of teaching safe habits, as kids are sponges and will potentially become similar drivers to their parents.