Moment of Truth: I’ve texted while driving. I’ve tweeted at stop lights. I’ve checked email while waiting in traffic. I’ve talked on the phone with kids in the back seat driving at highway speeds. Of these things, I am not proud.
I caught myself doing this the other day. I was sending a text, something like “Cool. Thx” and realized I was veering slightly into the other lane. Granted my kids weren’t in the car that time, but I was. And I was driving like a crazy person for the purpose of sending someone a message that said “cool.” ‘Cause that’s really important.
Lately, I’ve tried to be more aware of my driving habits and if I’m to be honest, it’s appalling. Beyond my phone misuses, I’m constantly handing stuff to the kids in the back seat, opening juice boxes, looking back to see who’s hitting whom, and passing back food from happy meals while driving at speeds of 45 miles an hour. How is this possibly safe? Obviously, it’s not.
It’s funny. We’re car and car-seat shopping right now in preparation for baby number three. We’re checking out which cars have the best safety records, and which car seats pass the most strict guidelines. Yet, it’s probably the driver that needs we need to scrutinize the most. Me. And yes, probably you. I’m guessing you’ve committed at least one of the sins I’ve confessed to.
Of course, we are going to get a safe car and one of the best infant car seats available (recommendations, anyone?), but I’m also going to strive to be a better driver. Here’s a mental checklist that I’m going to go through before I “Decide to Drive“:
1. Get the kids situated – make sure they are buckled properly, each has a toy/book that they need and snacks within reach if it’s a longer trip. If you have a new car seat, it’s worth going to have the seat inspected to make sure it’s properly installed. I’ve also recently gotten this Brica Stay-in-Place mirror that allows me to see my front-facing child that sits behind me without having to turn around. For less than ten dollars, this was a great investment!
2. Check the phone – reply to texts or update someone if I’m running late, make any phone calls, pull up directions, and check email. Store my phone in a zippered pouch in my purse where I’m less likely to grab for it.
3. Have music on the ready. Ok, in my case I make sure my books on CD are all loaded up (super nerd in the house!), but whatever it is that you listen too, better to fumble around before you start driving than while you’re driving!
4. Don’t rush. Sure, I’m probably running late. It’s something most moms can relate too. But, at the end of the day, I’m better off late than dead, and so are the kids!
It’s worth reminding yourself every day that the most advanced safety feature of any vehicle is the driver! The AAOS and the Auto Alliance urges all drivers to keep their most sophisticated safety features engaged at all times: eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
We’re helping the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Together, we’re searching for a catchphrase for the Decide to Drive campaign. And you can be a huge part of it! We’re looking for your ideas: What should our official campaign catchphrase be?
Winners will be selected by a panel of judges based on quality – this is not a random drawing! Top prize is a $1,000 Visa Gift Card (and the potential of having your idea featured prominently in a nationwide Decide to Drive campaign!); two runners-up will receive $500 Visa Gift Cards. Enter HERE!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.