Last night, I chatted with an old friend who lives in Boston. Her daughter just got her license and had driven to school solo that morning. Speaking with my friend, I realized what a scary time this new driver phase can be for parents as your “baby” gets behind the wheel of a vehicle and you wait with baited breath for them to arrive at each destination safely. My friend and I talked about how things have changed since we learned to drive in the 1980’s. One of the scariest changes, of course, is cell phone usage and the societal expectation that we will be reachable instantly any time of the day or night. For many people, this creates the false sense that we must text or talk on our cell phones while we drive. Last year, Oprah began a No phone zone campaign to encourage people not to text and drive. I heard about her campaign but didn’t make any changes to my own bad cell phone habits despite the new attention the campaign was receiving. Ironically, after my phone call with my friend, I was on Facebook, and saw that another friend had posted this video by AT &T.
Now that I am old enough to have friends with children who are driving, the reality of how dangerous this can be is finally dawning on me. After watching this video, I immediately wrote a note to myself and taped it onto my dashboard.
I don’t want to be a statistic. I never want to tell the story that I hurt or killed someone while I was driving and texting nor do I want to be the one who is talking or texting with a friend who is driving and gets in an accident. There is absolutely no conversation that is important enough for me to jeopardize my life or the lives of other people. This video really hit home for me. But I also know myself, and I know the only way this is going to work is if my phone is physically out of reach while I am at the steering wheel. So this morning, when I got in the car, I tossed my phone into the back seat and this afternoon I put my whole purse including my phone in the trunk. It wasn’t easy. I hated not having my phone by my side and at least three times I thought, darn I wish I could look at my phone for XYZ reason. This is going to be a difficult habit to break. The only way I will finally commit to this goal is by a daily visual reminder that I am doing this so I can be the safest driver possible and the best example to my kids, who by the way were thrilled that I had finally made this decision! My son even took two calls this evening and told the callers, “My mom can’t talk now because she’s driving, she’ll call you back when we get home!” I know this is the right decision and I’m sticking by it!