Going for a drive? Cars have gotten much better at avoiding, preventing, and withstanding crashes in recent years, but there are more cars on the road than ever, and distracted driving continues to be a growing problem. Many of us take some of the key elements or driving safety for granted once we pass driver’s ed and get our license, or we focus more on what other cars are doing wrong rather than making sure we’re making our own vehicle as safe as possible for ourselves and our passengers when we hit the road. None of us would want to be involved in an accident in which the people we were driving got hurt, so it’s a good idea to keep some thoughts in mind for passenger safety when we’ve got people riding with us, especially if you’re a new or inexperienced driver. Here are a few tips to consider.

  1. Everybody needs a seatbelt

Every passenger in your car needs a seat with a seatbelt. If a seat has a lap and a shoulder belt, both must be worn. Passengers can’t share seatbelts, either, everybody needs their own. If you have more passengers than you do seats and seatbelts, somebody’s going to have to sit this trip out.

  1. Car seats are essential for little passengers

Children under certain age and size limits are required by law to be seated in special child safety seats when they ride in cars, so if you’re transporting very young passengers, make sure you have the proper, legally required seats they need. It’s also important to make sure car seats are properly installed, as seats that aren’t secured correctly can pose a serious danger to the child and other passengers. 

  1. Minimize distractions

Overly talkative or animated passengers can be dangerous to drivers in the same way that phones, food, makeup, and other obvious driving distractions can. Passengers need to let the driver focus on the road and the cars around them. Make sure younger passengers have any snacks or entertainment they might need close at hand so they don’t have to ask the driver to help them reach for things. 

  1. Watch out for loose objects

Heavy loose objects can become deadly projectiles in the event of a car crash or any other sudden stop, so make sure that anything like this is securely stowed away and not sitting on seats, on top of the dashboard, or anywhere else where it could fly off and hit somebody in the car.

As long as everybody is seated and belted in properly, most passenger safety tips are just good common sense. However, the more people are riding in a car, the easier it is for things to get rowdy and out of hand, especially if the passengers are younger people, so drivers should always be ready to pull over, let things settle down, and ask for the calm and quiet they need to concentrate on the road when necessary. Doing things like this can help prevent accidents and keep everybody safer.