Let’s Talk Distracted Driving…
I don’t text and drive. And I always use my speaker phone when I talk while driving. So I’m good, right? The cop didn’t think so when he pulled me over last month. I saw the flashing lights just as I passed through a traffic light and slowly came to a stop at the side of the road, freaking out in my mind that I somehow ran a red light without realizing it. But I knew I didn’t; it was definitely a green light. So what was the deal? The officer came to my window and explained that I had been using my “handheld device” while driving. I wasn’t talking or texting… but I WAS changing the song on my playlist. UGH. He was right. Distracted driver, right here! That traffic stop cost me $153 and 4 dreaded points on my license. But it was more than a ticket; it was a wake-up call for me to reassess my attention and cell phone use while driving. I’m lucky – and thankful – that I simply got a ticket that day and didn’t have an accident instead. So when I was invited to talk about distracted driving by The National Safety Council for Distracted Driving Awareness Month, I knew it was an important conversation to have. Let’s hear from some other mamas and learn some facts about avoiding distracted driving – even with crazy kids – while driving…
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving – with Crazy Kids!
Skip Phone Calls – Even Hands-Free Ones
We can’t avoid conversations with our needy kids who are in the car, but we can avoid being distracted by conversations through out phones. The National Safety Council claims,
“Eighty percent of American drivers believe hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone. But that is just not the case. More than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer because the brain remains distracted by the conversation. When talking on a cell phone, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what’s around them, such as traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrians.”
Keep the Cell Phone Out of Read to Avoid Temptation
“When I’m driving, I keep my phone in my bag in the backseat so that I’m not able (or tempted!) to reach for it. My twin toddlers try to distract me by asking me to help them or get something they dropped, and I just repeat to them that Mommy can’t do that while she’s driving and I’ll get it when we get to where we’re going.” Laura of Sunny Day Family
Set Simple Car Rules for Kids
“We follow some simple rules while driving that help me not be distracted. First, my kids know that if they drop a blanket, toy, or bottle on the floor I will not be able to help them pick it up until we come to a red light, and then only if I have enough time and can reach it. Second, there is no ear piercing screaming allowed. Third, I keep my phone in my purse.” Katelyn of What’s Up Fagans?
Educate the Kids on Driving & Road Safety
“As I drive with my kids, I will often talk about rules of the road, how we pay attention and look both ways, etc. In addition to raising aware kids, it also helps me to be more aware of my own driving. If the kids need something, I will tell them they have to wait until we get to a stopping point (our destination, a stop light, etc.).” Betsy of Betsy Finn Photography
Entertain the Kids with Music or Stories
“I have actually found that the best thing is to put on an audio CD for the kids…that seems to occupy them so well, that they tend not to demand too much attention. We have used anything from Charlie and Lola to Roald Dahl. Libraries are great places to go to check out ideas, and usually don’t cost too much at all as well.” Helen of Kiddy Charts
Get Everything Set BEFORE Heading Onto the Road
“We use lots of kids audiobooks and playlists, too, to entertain the kids in the car. But I’ve learned (as addressed in the traffic stop story above) to pre-set playlists BEFORE you start driving and make it a rule – for yourself and your kids – that you will not skip or change songs while on the road.” Krissy of B-Inspired Mama
Have “Quiet Contests”
“When we hit a lot of traffic, we have quiet contests to see who can stay the quietest the longest. It helps me focus and it feeds into my son’s desire to win.” Deirdre of JDaniel4’s Mom
Take the Focused Driver Pledge
Now that we know the reality of distracted driving and some great tips for avoiding it, we need to commit to taking it seriously. For the safety of our kids and our society. Here’s an easy way to make a difference in YOUR and your kids lives right now and help raise awareness of distracted driving, too… Take the Focused Driver Pledge Today and share on Facebook using #CallsKill that you did!
How do you manage and avoid distracted driving with kids in the car? Join in the conversation in the comments below!
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The National Safety Council. Please see my disclosure policy.