Mom? Dad? Do You Have the Courage to Just Say No?

Think Safety First
Think Safety First

It was early in the morning and still dark outside.  A colossally foolish jogger, donned completely in black, decided to cross the street in front of my SUV which was travelling at 40 miles per hour.  Thanks to my attentiveness I slammed my brakes, swerved, and skidded to a halt.  The jogger ran off into the darkness and I breathed a sigh of relief while simultaneously screaming an expletive.  As I began to drive away,I felt grateful about the decision I’ve made to never, ever use my cell phone while driving.  If I didn’t have both hands on the wheel, I wouldn’t have been able to swerve. If I was peering at my keypad or an “important” text, I doubt I would have seen the jogger in time to stop.My decision not to use a cell phone while driving came when my son was 10 years old.  Somehow, I had a fleeting realization that in six short years, he would obtain his driver’s license.  If he observed me operating heavy machinery while talking or texting, he would argue fervently to do the same.  Did I really want to engage in this double standard dispute?  Wasn’t it really in everyone’s best interest if mom drove as safely as possible?

Sure, like any parent, I could justify using a cell phone while driving.  It is convenient, time efficient multitasking, and even entertaining when there is an interesting conversation taking place.  I could say that my years of driving experience made it safer for me, but I know that statistics negate that.  No matter how I could justify it, I knew I’d be setting a bad example, and creating potential peril for myself, my passengers, and other drivers around me.  My decision was simple.

Fast forward.  My son is now 17 years old and he knows that if mom can drive without texting or talking, he can too.  Mission accomplished!  So far, so good.

Did you know that in 2010 more people were killed due to distracted driving than we lost on 9/11?  We are quick to point fingers at teens but parents (as well as non parents) are equally to blame.

I know you’ve seen them too. Moms and dads all around us use cell phones while driving. Shockingly, some of them are toting their children, or even an entire carpool of children in the back seat!  These are the same parents who in many other ways practice exemplary parenting to raise healthy kids in the safest possible settings.  They buy healthy organic foods, petition for school buses to have seat belts, and lug car seats onto airplanes to provide a safer ride for their precious progeny.  They talk out loud with their peers about the “idiot” who was texting and driving and almost caused an accident.  They even lecture their kids about driving safely.

Why then do parents fail to practice what they preach?   

The idea that it will take an accident, injury, or death to convince anyone to drive safely is ridiculous if not pitiable.  The answer is simple.  Just say “no.”  It’s what we guide our kids to do so let’s practice what we preach and be a shining example of discipline.

Here are 9 excellent reasons to break the distracted driving habit:

  1. You are setting an outstanding example for your passengers particularly your children and their friends.
  2. You will avoid the double standard dispute that is sure to arise when your kids get their driver’s license.
  3. You are a respectable example for your family, friends, and colleagues when you tell them that you will not answer a call (unless you are using Bluetooth) or text while driving.  They will likely admire your courage and feel inspired, giving themselves permission to do the same.
  4. You are less likely to annoy the drivers around you.
  5. You are lessening the risk of a car accident and potential peril to yourself, your passengers, and others who are driving in your proximity.
  6. You are avoiding a traffic citation (in those states where driving with a cell phone is against the law), a lawsuit, time in court, and possibly time in jail.
  7. By heeding #’s 4 and 5, you are keeping yourself in this beautiful world where your joyful presence will bring happiness to all those who love you and cherish you, including your kids who desperately want and need their mommy or daddy.
  8. Your kids will admire you if not thank you for a being a great role model.
  9. You’ve got G.U.T.S.  Go out and Use This Stuff!

Please add to this list by leaving us a comment.  It does take a village!