Why Cluttered Cars are Dangerous for Occupants

Why Cluttered Cars are Dangerous for Occupants

Destroyed vehicle after accident

Cars have become like a second home for most of us in today’s busy society. It’s understandable that they may get cluttered and messy when you are always on the go, especially when you have children. But you want to make sure your car doesn’t get too cluttered for the safety of your baby and your other occupants.

Why Cluttered Cars Are Dangerous for Occupants

Most people don’t see the problem with a little mess, but this can be dangerous – even lethal – for you, your baby, and your other occupants. There are many reasons why cluttered cars are dangerous for occupants. Let’s take a look at four ways car clutter can mean danger for everyone in the car.

1. Loose Items Become a Hazard to Occupants

We all know that children like to explore their environment by putting items in their mouths. The more loose items you have around your children, the more likely they are to put them in their mouths. You may experience a sudden choking emergency that you can’t handle without risking a car accident. 

Furthermore, loose items have a high chance of becoming dangerous projectiles if you make a sudden stop or sharp turn. According to the Canada Safety Council, “If you brake suddenly while traveling at 50kmh, groceries in the back seat will hit you with the same force as if they had fallen from a two-story building. A one-liter bottle of water could hit with a weight of 20 kilograms.” Such force could cause major injury and even death.

Small items like toys or round objects like bottle and cans may roll into the footwell of your brake pad and go unnoticed until it’s too late. You either cannot brake or become distracted trying to remove the item quickly, placing yourself in greater danger of a car accident.

2. You Expose Vehicle Occupants to Harmful Bacteria

A 2015 study conducted by the University of Nottingham found that 51% of drivers drop food in their cars, and 60% of drivers still eat food in messy cars without cleaning out their car interior. Upon taking swabs of different dirty cars, they found up to 700 bacteria per square centimeter.

Car seats can have 1,000 bacteria per square centimeter or more. These figures quickly become worrying when you consider the fact that toilets generally have 500 bacteria per square centimeter.

Furthermore, the type of bacteria present in dirty cars includes a dangerous strain of E. coli that is lethal to children and the elderly. Mold and fungal spores are also present in cars that aren’t cleaned at least once a month.

3. Clutter is Distracting

A psychological study conducted by Princeton University proved that clutter exhausts our cognitive functions over time and makes it hard for our brain to pay attention. The brain naturally pushes toward desired objects and experiences a pull from objects that compete for its attention. Your brain tries to focus on the road, but is pulled away by loose items around you.

You may also have to search for needed objects while driving because they aren’t in a designated location. Such distraction is dangerous while driving because mental focus and alertness are the most important factors in preventing accidents.

How to Reduce Car Clutter

Juggling life responsibilities can be hectic, but it’s important for drivers to clean their cars. Thankfully, there are some practical ways to reduce and eliminate clutter in the car.

Some methods include:

  • Store loose items in secure areas like glove compartments, front consoles, and backseat storage pockets.

  • Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down common contact surfaces like steering wheels, door handles, and knobs regularly.

  • Avoid eating and drinking in the car as much as possible.

  • Limit the number of items you and your children can bring in the car.

  • Throw away trash every time you stop at a gas station.

  • Purchase a car trash can with a lid.

  • Purchase a backseat organizer to store children’s objects.

  • Set a schedule to clean your car regularly — once a week is ideal.

  • Take your car to the car wash as needed.

You Can Keep Your Car Organized and Safe

Sometimes clutter is unavoidable as we go about our busy lives, but a cluttered car is dangerous for you and your occupants. It increases your chances of distractions, flying objects, and brake problems that can cause car accidents. It’s a good idea to take practical measures to keep your car clean and organized. You can thus ensure that you and your occupants will be safe on the road.

Likewise, you want to make sure you’re keeping your children and pets out of the heat when you park. BabySav creates useful items like keychains and stickers to remind, not just individuals, but thousands of people not to leave children and pets in the car in extreme temperatures. It is our nonprofit organization’s mission to help save lives with this solution — one child at a time.