I have to admit, I feel rushed almost every day. Life is busy. There is never enough time to do what we need to do and get where we need to be. But we have to remember, while our families depend on us to get these things done, they also depend on us to be there for them. If we don’t take the time to be safe on the roads, we may have many more tasks added to our to-do list. Tasks such as paying fines for using our cell phones while driving, or getting our cars repaired after a crash. There is also the risk of injury to ourselves and others we need to consider. Is this distracting task important enough to risk the lives of ourselves or others on the road?
According to the National Office of Highway Safety, distractions occur any time you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the task at hand. This not only includes texting and cell phone use, but eating, talking, using a GPS or adjusting the radio. As of December 2014, 169.3 billion texts were sent in the U.S. every month, and at any moment across America, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
As a busy working mom with many family responsibilities and activities, I would like to offer some suggestions for families to stay safe on the roads and avoid distractions.
- Set your mirrors, GPS and radio before leaving.
- Buckle your seat belt.
- Remember to eat before leaving, or take the time to eat at the restaurant. Drinking and eating while driving can be very distracting.
- Give the children a quiet activity to keep them busy while traveling.
- Always pull over in a safe location to address any issues with children.
- If you need to make a call, pull over in a safe location.
- Turn off your phone to decrease distraction. Set a message indicating you may be driving and will return the call.
- For smartphone users, look into the apps that automatically send a message to any incoming texts or calls received while the car is in motion.
- Set strict rules for your teens about cell phone use while driving, and remind them about the laws and fines for cell phone use while driving.
Take the time today to make your own personal list of things you can do to reduce distractions while driving. Talk to your teens and set a good example for them.
Remember that enjoying our families starts with our own safety. We need to be there for those we love.