Driving While Distracted Is Never Okay
It was over 20 years ago when I made a decision that would become one of my life’s biggest regrets. I had 4 finals that week and, although the college was only 10 miles from my house, there was a ton of LA traffic as usual. I was freaking out!!! I made the haphazard decision to look over my flash cards in the passenger seat to help alleviate my anxiety during bumper to bumper.
I’ve NEVER written about this but, long story short: I drove while distracted and ran a red light that caused an accident. It was horrific. I am BEYOND grateful that the woman I hit was not severely injured, though the experience left us both completely shaken. For years I was riddled with the guilt of hurting this woman and suffered anxiety attacks for weeks after. It was a devastating experience, but I learned a valuable lesson.
You can’t drive safely when you’re distracted. Period.
20 years ago, I didn’t even own a smartphone, let alone multiple accounts that send hundreds of notifications each day. And now our favorite music, audiobooks, and day-to-day lists are on our phones too. Staying focused on the road is more tedious than ever before.
Distracted Driving is a REAL Mom Life Challenge!
If you’re a mom, you know what it means to be distracted. A 10-minute task has turned into an hour long ordeal when you’ve got kids to feed, homework to finish and soccer practice to get to. I totally get it! Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever focus on one thing at a time again.
Driving while distracted – specifically by our smartphones – is a real danger and challenge for busy moms. I would be totally lost without my smartphone (it keeps my calendar, alarms when to pick up my kids, grocery list, menu plan and on and on…), but I’ve learned to do without it when behind the wheel of my car. Think about how quickly your trip to the grocery store can turn into tragedy because of the near-constant notifications, messages or phone calls we’re bombarded with throughout the day.
It’s a nightmare I never want to relive.
Distracted Driving Is Never OK
One thing I do every time we get ready to drive is decide on the music station, Pandora channel or podcast we’re listening to BEFORE I put the car in drive. Especially if we’re driving longer than 20-30 minutes, I ask the kids what they might enjoy listening to. They love story podcasts and, as long as we stream it before we get driving, I’m happy to accommodate them.
I’m able to answer phone calls and listen to text messages through my car too, but I always pull over if absolutely necessary. Yup, I’ve even been known to pull over on the side of the road to have one of my heated, crazy-Cuban conversations!!!
And as an extra precaution, I’ve taught my daughter that distracted driving is NEVER okay and she will remind me of that if I ever put her or her brother’s safety at risk. It’s one of those times that mom guilt works to our benefit.
Take the IT CAN WAIT Pledge!
AT&T polled over two thousand people and found that, while 95% of drivers disapproved of distracted driving, 71% of them still engaged in smartphone activities while behind the wheel. Their It Can Wait campaign aims to change that number dramatically.
When you take the It Can Wait pledge, you promise to: care for those around you and put your phone away while driving, share the message that distracted driving is never okay and to be aware that you’re never alone on the road.
It’s a simple act with profound results and this year, It Can Wait will reach 20 MILLION pledges!!! They’re celebrating by donating $20,000 to Students Against Destructive Decisions.
Another great tool is the free AT&T DriveMode app. It’s available to customers of all wireless carriers and helps curb the urge to text and drive. It can silence incoming alerts, phone calls and the auto mode feature automatically turns the app on when you reach 15 mph and turns off after you stop. It even has great control features to keep our young drivers safe! AT&T DriveMode is available in Google Play, App Store and is available in Spanish. It’s been downloaded by more than 14 million users.
Join me and TAKE THE PLEDGE to drive safely and without distractions. Click here to sign your It Can Wait Pledge and share the mission with your friends by uploading a photo or video to Twitter using #ItCanWait!
Moms have power to the change cultures and legacies. Let’s make sure our families and friends know that distracted driving is never okay.