Just as we wouldn’t crack open a beer and drive, we shouldn’t snap open our cell phones and drive. We’ve all gotten into the habit of arranging a ride home before a night that will involve alcohol, but our habits around cell phone use in cars still need adjustment.
I know many friends who say, “Oh, I only look at it when I’m at a red light.” But I beg them to change that behaviour. Why? Because if they are like me, the need to look at the phone when it “pings” is strong and no conversation starts and finishes during the span of a red light.
I have to consciously work at avoiding distracted driving by leaving my phone in my purse, and then put my purse in my back seat. Alternatively, I turn it off for the duration of my drive. (The stats support this decision: drivers engaged in text messaging are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash event.)
I do this for selfish reasons … because I don’t want to miss my children’s next birthdays because I fatally crashed while texting with my girlfriend … because I don’t want my husband to feed me through a straw for the rest of his life because I couldn’t wait 10 minutes to check for an email update about a business meeting … and because I don’t want to be responsible for killing or hurting another person because I was tweeting about Miley Cyrus. I know that I could never forgive myself.
Deaths from impaired driving have been dropping continually since 2000 as a result of public awareness campaigns and legislative changes. The same will need to happen for people to take distracted driving seriously.
One such campaign has been recently launched by the CAA and it’s called “MISSING.” I took CAA’s online survey to find out what I could be missing as a result of distracted driving and then I then I took the following promise:
For my friends, my family and my future, I’m making the promise to stop distracted driving. I will avoid answering my cell phone, responding to texts or letting other distractions pull my focus away from the road. No distraction is worth what I could be MISSING.
Will you consider making this promise and sticking to it too? Take this short distracted driving survey now.
P.S. If you feel that your teens might need more discussion around this topic, consider sharing this powerful video, created by acclaimed film maker Werner Herzog, with them.
P.P.S. Yes, the CAA approached me to write a post on this topic. I think it’s a worthwhile topic and I hope you do too.
CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which also offers travel deals, home insurance, travel insurance and auto insurance. There are more than 1.9 million CAA members in South Central Ontario and over 5.9 million members in Canada.