18 June 2014

Don't Drive Distracted

Little known fact: I don't enjoy driving, and avoid it whenever I can.

My first, and as yet, only car.

However, just because I try to stay out of the driver's seat as much as possible doesn't mean that I can't have any impact on the choices that the person who is driving my car makes. Distracted driving is an all-too common factor in car crashes--these crashes could often be prevented if drivers are willing to decide to drive by keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

But what impact can you have on a driver's behavior when you're a passenger? Quite a bit, actually. When you're a passenger, you can use that opportunity to encourage the person driving the car to make good decisions, avoid multi-tasking, and pay attention to what's happening on the road.

When I was in high school, I got rides everywhere from my friends. This was pre-smartphones, but it wasn't pre-texting, and quite frequently my friends would get out their phones to text others while they drove. I was never ashamed to speak up when I saw them try to multitask this way: "You have precious cargo in this car," I'd say, "No text is worth endangering both of our lives." 

I made it clear early on that I wouldn't continue to get rides from people who persisted in texting while driving, and I'd offer to read and respond to texts for the driver so that they could pay attention to the road.

These days, my husband is the primary driver in our family, and I encourage him to stay focused on driving and not getting distracted by always reminding him when we're out and about that we're never in so much of a hurry that we don't have the time to stop in a parking lot and eat food from the drive-thru rather than have him eat while driving. When we're going places we don't know, I manage the GPS and play the role of navigator. If someone calls his cell while we're driving, I'll answer it and give him a message. If he wants to listen to a different cd, I'll change the cd for him.

Driving is a daily activity for most, but it's never worth it to let familiarity with our usual routes lull us into thinking that it's a good idea to multitask and allow ourselves to get distracted while driving. Also, remember, as a passenger, you are not powerless. If the person driving you is driving distracted, don't be afraid to speak up. Offer to take care of other tasks so that they can focus on driving.

The first car I ever rode in--on my way home after being born at the hospital!

I'm thankful for this opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of paying attention when on roads, courtesy of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance. The focus of the Decide to Drive campaign is on making sure both drivers and passengers are aware of what they can do to decrease distracted driving and its consequences.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Debbie Stinedurf said...

I couldn't agree more...excellent post.

Being Reese 2 said...

A very important post. A year ago a good friend of mine lost her 17 year old son to an accident. The driver wasn't paying attention. A simple mistake while driving can cost a life. It's always best to just pay attention to the road and deal with everything else when you're not behind the wheel.

Kari said...

You're so right that it's important to not drive distracted. It's all too easy to reply to that text real quick, but bad things can happen in an instant. Thanks for sharing!

Inge Jane said...

This is so true. I always offer to read or respond to texts for the driver if they need to right then. Jim also often turns off the radio when he's driving so as not to get too distracted.

Moonofsilver said...

love this. so true! nothing says "never getting in a car with" then people trying to text to fiddle with things while operating their vehicle. NO!

retrobellewife said...

I like this, Rachel! It's very true. I do the same thing for Justin and my mother does the same for Daddy. It's all fone out of the kindness of our hearts, right? :) We don't pull over to eat though. I learned how to help with a burger on the way back from our honeymoon.

Unknown said...

This was a great post. I also try to avoid driving now as much as possible. It wasn't always this way, in high school I looked for any excuse to drive, and also texted. Thinking back on it I can't believe how irresponsible and stupid I was. I would NEVER let anyone driving a car I ride in now TEXT.

And you are right, there is precious cargo in and OUT of the car, we should all stay a lot more focused.

Angie from reasons to dress, fashion, real mom street style & life as a North American mom in Italy.

Mica said...

Very worthwhile post! It's crazy how easily people can be distracted, and just a simple glance away from the wheel can have really bad consequences. It is shocking how many people you see driving who are ignoring the road....I was on a bus in traffic once, the cars were moving but just really slowly. We came past a car in the other lane where the driver had a book on the wheel, reading as they went along. I couldn't believe it!

Away From The Blue

MontgomeryFest said...

this is excellent and stellar and I'm so happy to know all of these things about you. power to the passenger! well, the definitely the driver too, but I'm the passenger these days so I'm taking note ;)

Unknown said...

Thank you for spreading the word. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I also do not drive much...anymore. I was never a huge fan, but the head-on collision from someone going the wrong way pretty much killed it completely. It doesn't help how careless and distracted drivers are now. It has really just got to be something uncool. Public awareness is huge. Thanks for contributing to that.

It's nice to meet you. Glad I found you on the Saturday sharefest. xo ~Topaz

Penguin said...

I too don't enjoy driving and avoid it whenever I can. Though the penalties even for a first time DUI conviction are serious and can be life altering for a person who faces court. So choose right DUI lawyer always. My brother works with a Los Angeles DUI attorney and have told me your selection of attorney can impact outcome of case to a great extent.