As a busy mom and blogger I will plead guilty to being entirely “too” distracted by my pretty, shiny smart phone and all its apps and connectivity no matter where I go, including in my car.
My girls are 7 and 10 and I want to set a good example for them each time I get behind the wheel. My older daughter just started middle school and I know high school years aren’t far behind. Soon she’ll be old enough to get her driver’s license and get behind the wheel of a car. Learning to be a responsible driver begins at home. Am I really doing enough to reinforce good driving skills? Probably not.
I want to set a good example for my girls whenever and - wherever - I drive. Even with something as innocuous as backing out of our driveway, I am reminded of the need to be completely aware of my surroundings. There is a hill just past our house and drivers tend to speed down it and appear unexpectedly in my rearview mirror as I back out. I drive both my girls to school mornings and afternoons and between rushing out the door, making sure everyone has backpacks (check), lunch boxes (check), and any forms or homework due for the day (check), not to mention the 10-year-old’s music requests, it can be incredibly distracting.
As much as I talk the talk about safe driving, here’s the deal… I cheat. I will admit to looking at my phone for email updates and text updates when we’re sitting at a red light. Even this, though, has garnered the disapproval of my very wise girls. They will literally scold me. I have to laugh about it, but they are absolutely right in chastising me!
I’ve made an effort to cut out phone use in the car, except now I find myself with idle time every afternoon waiting in two different car rider pickup lines. With both my girls at two different schools now (elementary and middle) I am spending at least an hour in the car every day just sitting and waiting. There’s no harm in making a phone call or two, right? Even in the school driveway there is no room for distraction, though.
I pride myself on being one heck of a multitasker. The afternoon car rider pickup line seems like the ideal place to knock out a few items on my never-ending to do list. But I was recently reminded that even the school pick up line is no place for distraction. I was on the phone as I eased along one afternoon. The line came to a halt. Before I knew it, though, I glanced up and the cars in front of me had all progressed ahead of me. The teacher on duty waved me along with a look of annoyance. That night our school called with a recorded message to remind all parents to refrain from cell phone use in the car rider line. They might as well have called me out by name. I just knew they were talking about me, although I know I’m certainly not the only parent who talks on their phone in the school pick up line. Still, I am guilty as charged.
Remember, whether you have toddlers or tweens, like me, they are constantly observing your driving habits. Being a safe driver begins the second you get behind the wheel. It doesn’t matter if you’re “just” in the driveway or in line at your child’s school, distraction has no room as a passenger in your vehicle.
Jamie Reeves is a Nashville mom blogger and freelance writer who has been pontificating about poop and pinot noir on BlondeMomBlog.com since 2005.