With carpool responsibilities, grocery-store runs and drives to grandma’s house, it’s sometimes hard to believe a mom ever gets to park her car. In fact, a MotherProof.com survey revealed that, on average, moms spent 405 hours in their cars in 2008. That’s equivalent to nearly 17 days. The survey also showed that only 35% of moms plan in advance for a day behind the wheel.  “The reality for today’s busy families is that so much of our ‘quality family time’ is spent on the road,” says Kristin Varela, chief mom at MotherProof.com. “That may seem unfortunate, but it’s not so bad if families make the most of it – sometimes it’s the only time we have together as a family all day.”  To make the most of those 405 hours, Varela and her team of mom car reviewers at MotherProof.com encourage others to make five resolutions for 2009 to make life in the car safer, more entertaining and more productive.

1. Pull over to make and take phone calls: 71% of moms admitted to making calls or texting in the car. While hands-free headsets seem to be a good option, studies have shown that even those create a distraction that makes driving less safe. Vow to set a good example for little ones (monkey see, monkey do) and pull over to make/take calls.

2. Ditch the drive-through: 85% of moms resort to eating in their cars, and 47% eat at a restaurant drive-through one to three times per week. Vow to eat healthier, save money on takeout and keep the car cleaner by packing healthy and car-friendly snacks before a day of driving.

3. Go green: Use recyclable and reusable water/juice bottles and coffee mugs in the car to help cut down on trash.

4. Get organized: An organized environment leads to an organized mind. Clean out your car! MotherProof.com’s survey found that 50% of moms clean their car only every few months, or when the car “needs” cleaning. Use tote bags to store your car’s necessities and to transport daily stuff all in one load to and from the house. Vow to take your car to the hand wash at least every other month. Five bucks gets you an industrial-strength vacuum and a good rinse. If you’re able, invest in a thorough detailing. It’s almost like getting a brand-new car … almost.

5. Get smart with audiobooks: Use car time for healthy brain activities. Just over a third of moms already read in the car. Download audiobooks from the internet or your local library to build up your brain cells while driving and waiting in the carpool lane. Books for the kids are great, but don’t forget about yourself. Download your latest book club selection and show up next time ready to actually participate in the discussion at hand.  The survey was conducted online with a random sample of 1,028 women 25-42 years of age who have a child in the household 18 years old or younger. Survey respondents were carefully selected to closely match U.S. population demographics, and the respondents are representative of the random sample.  Research was conducted in November 2008. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is plus or minus 3 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

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