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Tips for pregnant drivers: Vital advice for mums-to-be

  • Pregnant? Then take this sage safety advice
  • Try (or imagine) being fully pregnant when driving
  • Ford’s preggy-belt will add 14kg to your mass

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Automaker Ford has developed some potentially vital driving tips for pregnant drivers to keep them safe and comfortable on the road.

Ford designers/engineers created an “empathy belly” (a cool pregnancy suit) to simulate the bulk and discomfort experienced in the third trimester of pregnancy: the objective – to research the best position and safety while at the wheel.

Mothers-to-be will taught how to make in-vehicle adjustments while driving that will support safe driving.

THERE’S A LARGER VERSION OF THESE IMAGES AT THE FOOT OF THE FILE. Images: Ford

The suit adds about 14kg (the average weight gained during pregnancy) – quite an adjustment to seating, steering-wheel position, and access. So, take a look at Ford’s suggestions…

Seat-belt safety

FIRST, remove bulky clothing to ensure a snug prenancy suit. Pull the crash mitigation belt over your shoulder, between the breasts and to the side of your belly. The lap portion of the belt should be located at your hip and below, not across, your abdomen. Make sure the belt lies as flat as possible under the curve of your belly.

NEVER put the shoulder belt behind you or under your arm: it could cause serious injury during a collision.

Make proper vehicle adjustments

SLIDE THE driving seat to a comfortable distance from the pedals – ideally about 25cm away from the steering-wheel… a distance that should protect your abdomen if the crash bag deploys.

It the steering-wheel adjusts point the center of the steering-wheel towards your chest, not your belly. Remember to re-adjust the rearview and external mirrors. If you experience backache then keep a small round pillow or rolled towel in the car to place behind your lower back. The extra support will make you more comfortable…

From snack-attack to nausea

FOOD CRAVINGS and “morning” nausea can happen at any time of day. Keep plenty of water and some of you favourite snacks in the glove box to satisfy those cravings. Keep some nausea bags in your handbag and glove compartment.

Should an attack start, look around before you manoeuvre then pull over to a safe place roadside place.

Have a rest or avoid driving

THE “pregnant brain” takes more strain than usual so its best to plan and map out (or feed into a satnav) the route to a new destination. Avoid driving long distances but if you must then take frequent breaks to promote blood circulation to your feet.

During pregnancy feet and ankles swell easily when seated for an extended time. Take a driving break, stretch, and move your legs, feet and toes.

Should you find yourself a passenger in a car then the rear middle seat is the safest one (provided it has a lap/shoulder crash mitigation belt. If you are riding in the front passenger seats slide it backwards as far as possible and belt-up.

Think crash-bag deployment again…

  • Now that you’re prepared for safer driving go shopping for the best child-seat you can afford.

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