The other day we were driving on the interstate with our girls in the backseat when a semi veered into our lame without warning, missing our front bumper by a couple of feet. Just as quickly as it veered into my lane, it corrected with a jerk. As my husband sped up to pass the semi I watched the driver continue to text.
I was livid. Had I seen one of those, “How’s my driving?” phone numbers on the truck I would have called.
We were safe, and there was nothing I could do. So I turned it into a teaching lesson because here is the thing… I have been guilty of being a distracted driver too.
Distracted driving isn’t just texting or answering a call while driving — it is anything that takes your attention off the road, even for a second.
Often with kids in tow I have found myself passing out snacks, changing the radio station and worse — speeding. It’s hard not to be distracted when there are so many things going on, and I admit I am guilty. But each of those things compromises the safety of my family, and that frightens me.
Decide to Drive
In an effort to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving, The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance have launched the Decide to Drive campaign. The campaign aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving, continue the conversation at home, work and play, and reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel.
In order to reduce your personal risk Decide to Drive offers these tips, which are a great reminder for all drivers:
- Put on any accessories you may need, such as sunglasses or Bluetooth ear piece before you start the car.
- Adjust seats, head rests, vehicle controls and mirrors before you start the car. (And don’t forget to fasten you seat belt.)
- Move all reading material away from easy reach. Pre-load MP3 playlist or CDs and adjust volume level so your music level doesn’t mast the sounds of emergency sirens before you start the car.
- Enter an address in the navigation system before you depart or review maps and written directions before you drive.
- Driving is not the time to apply makeup, groom, polish your nails or change clothing.
- Stop your car in a safe area before attending to a child or pet or having an involved discussion.
- Do not text or make a call with your cell phone while driving. just put the phone away.
- Do not eat, drink or smoke while driving.
- At all times while operating your vehicle, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
In addition to insuring that you are not distracted and keeping your passengers as safe as possible, practicing good habits like those above makes you a great role model for your kids. One day they too will be drivers. While you might not always be in the car to remind them to stay focused, they will remember years of you modeling and reinforcing good behavior through conversations about driving safety. (And just in case, you can keep reminding them every day!)
Stay safe and get more information and resources about the Decide to Drive campaign online.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.