So I am on my way to work happily curled up in the back row on the bus hazily daydreaming as I gaze out of the window. The sun is shining, my coffee is finally kicking in, and every 10th person that passes my bus is staring at their phone instead of the freeway in front of them. You guys, I am not kidding … every 10th person. It makes my stomach turn.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and I know that this topic isn’t one we all enjoy being reminded of. We have enough to worry about without a guilt trip on our driving habits, right? Well, I don’t want to make you feel guilty. I don’t expect you to be perfect. So instead, I wanted to take a step back, think about a few things, and make my son a promise. I’ll share it with you. It might just turn out to be so, so, important.
You see, even before our little ones are ready to start driving, they are watching us and learning our habits. Before we even set out to teach them how to operate a vehicle, they have watched our behaviors. I want to set an example that I can be proud of. I am not so naïve that I think I will follow every single rule in every moment. However, I do know that there is no place I could be heading where getting there quickly is more important than getting there alive. I know that no matter what, I want my loved ones to stop at that stop sign and take a second look. I want to show my son that I am not just telling him he shouldn’t text while driving — but show him I mean it by putting my phone away and focusing on getting us safely to work, home, or school.
I will never know exactly what caused my husband’s accident. It is something I struggle to understand every day. It still breaks my heart to hear stories of other families ripped apart because of a car accident. You are not just taking your life in your hands when you get in a vehicle. We share the road with other people’s loved ones. We share the road with mothers, fathers, children, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, and friends.
I know all of this, yet I still need to do better. I need to teach my son what it means to drive safely. I want to show him just how precious his life is to me; that he is the most important thing to me in the world. So I am making him a promise to try harder. To make changes. To put him first.
So Bubba, I will put my phone in the glove box or backseat. I will come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign. I am going to take a second look and make sure I am not changing lanes on top of a motorcycle. I promise to let go of any road rage and treat other drivers as though their lives matter too. I will ALWAYS call a friend to come pick me up if I had more to drink than planned. I will set an example that I want you to follow. I am going to teach you that vehicles can be deadly, and that it is always important to drive safely.
I promise to put forth the effort to remember just how important every step towards increased safety can be. I will use my turn signal. I will pull over for emergency vehicles. Seatbelts will always be required for everyone in my car. I will slow down and enjoy the ride and the extra time with you.
I will teach you that we all share in this responsibility. That it is always okay to ask someone driving to please put away their phone, slow down, and focus on the road. I will teach you that we share the road with other PEOPLE, and nothing gives us the right to take that lightly. Will I make mistakes? Probably. But for you I will try my best to be better.
Together we will promise to keep not just our safety, but the safety of everyone we share the road with, a priority. We will recognize that we can’t do it alone; that it is a shared responsibility. So, what do you say friends, will you join us? Will you teach our babies that we can all do better?