Hi, I’m Lyndsey, and I’m a distracted driver.
Confession: One Wednesday evening I was driving my three children to a church program. Wednesdays tend to be my family’s busiest day of the week due to a couple activities we have going on that day. After jumping in the car following a rushed dinner, I drove out of my neighborhood and landed at a pretty big intersection just down the street from where we live. I sit at this stoplight perhaps a dozen times a day. Most times I reach for my phone at the red light and hit buttons and apps just because. It has become routine. It has become a bad habit.
On this particular evening, I was staring at my phone and fielding questions left and right from my two oldest kids. As I was distracted by both my phone and my kids, I suddenly realized that I was just going through the motions and not paying attention. I went through the intersection, but as I almost got across, I noticed that the light was red. It wasn’t yellow or even orange. It was red.
This has happened to me before minus the phone, after a slow reaction time and a split decision which left me barreling across to the other side right as the yellow turned to red. My point is that this particular night I wasn’t paying attention and probably would have stopped and waited another turn because of a yellow light. Fortunately, God sent some angels to protect us, and nothing happened.
This summer, AT&T produced a commercial involving distracted driving. My husband and I watched it, and it was scary. It made me think…for a couple minutes. I walked away thinking that it would never happen to me. My attitude was that I am invincible. I have watched it since the night I spoke about above — wake-up call — and I saw it differently. View it below and let it sink into your mind. Picture yourself in that driver’s seat. You might have done the very same thing before but been spared the devastation.
I cannot help but think that there are other mothers out there who drive while being distracted by their phones. We can do better. We have to commit to change or lives will be lost or hurt in the process. I’m preaching to myself here.
So what do we do? I would like to propose that when you get in your car, your phone goes straight into your glove compartment. If that is too tempting for you, place it in your trunk. If you need to check something while you’re driving, take a minute or two to pull over onto the side of the road or into a parking lot to retrieve it. If you have a hands-free option or a GPS device, use those. Keep in mind, however, that those can be distracting too. I realize that many of us live life in the fast lane, but a little preparation before turning on the engine goes a long way.
No phone call, text, photograph on Instagram, or message on Facebook is worth it. It’s just not. Let’s join together to make our roadways safer. If we have children in our cars, that is enough distraction as it is. There are backseat sibling squabbles and toddler tantrums and drive-thru dinners that compete for our attention already when we are in the driver’s seat. We don’t need to throw in the distraction of a phone too.
My oldest child is 8-years-old. He will be driving in seven years with a Learner’s Permit. While it seems far away, and I am willing time to slow down, those seven years will pass quickly. I essentially have seven more years to be a role model in the car for him…and his two siblings, who will be driving shortly thereafter. We spend a lot of time in the car together, especially after school and in the evening as we drive from activity to activity. Whether I see it or not, they are watching every move I make. It is imperative that I model what good and safe driving looks like for them. While I cannot control what the drivers around me do on the roads, I can control what I am doing and make sound decisions that impact the little lives sitting behind me. They have been instructed to hold me accountable to placing my phone in the glove compartment before leaving the driveway.