I know you know the dangers of drinking and driving. This has been drilled in your head from the day you got your learner’s permit. In fact, even before you got your permit you took a drug and alcohol course. Then there was plenty of information in Driver’s Ed regarding the dangers of drinking and driving.
Of course, each year there were dramatic displays of wrecked vehicles the week before homecoming or prom to serve as a visual reminder. Some years assemblies were held with speakers who would share gut wrenching stories about accidents they had caused when driving under the influence or injuries they suffered at the hands of an impaired driver. These messages continued in college, but I know you’ve also seen many stories on television that have reinforced this message.
Unfortunately, you probably also know people who have not heeded these warnings and have been in accidents or had their license suspended due to poor choices regarding getting behind the wheel after drinking.
While I hope these messages have been imprinted in your brain so that drinking and driving is never a consideration for you, this is not the only dangerous activity to avoid while driving. More and more research has been done regarding other issues that impair a driver’s abilities behind the wheel and tired drivers and distracted drivers have been found to create dangers just as serious as those impaired by alcohol.
I know I find the phone a much more difficult problem. I can talk and drive! I’ve always talked to passengers and driven so what’s the difference? But apparently there are differences. So while I know we all talk to one another frequently while driving, please use extra caution. The more important task is driving – not talking on the phone. Don’t hesitate to ignore a call or hang up so you can to concentrate on the road. Please don’t talk on the phone if it’s raining, you’re in a construction zone, the traffic is heavy, or you’re lost. Don’t talk on the phone if you’re upset or angry.
But most of all when it comes to your phone, don’t text while driving. I know how hard this is. I’m in the car and hear that “ding ding” indicating that I have a message. I want to grab the phone and read it immediately – I’m trained to respond when I hear that signal. That is a change that I need to make, we all need to make. Do not read the message and definitely do not text back!
If someone is in the car with you, let them read and respond to the texts. If you’re alone, let it wait. I know it seems like you can quickly check the message. I know I’ve done it. But it’s crazy. It’s stupid. It’s foolish. It’s dangerous.
Should you take the risk? What if you cause an accident? What if you get hurt? What if you hurt someone else? What if someone’s killed? What if you just wreck your car? Can you really afford a new car or the increase in your insurance?
This is a commitment I plan to make and keep. No more picking up the phone to check that text – not even at the stop light! So if you send me a text, and I don’t answer and you really need an answer – call. I might be driving and unable to respond.
I hope you’ll join me and make a commitment to end texting while driving. And as an extra incentive, Florida’s legislature finally enacted legislation that will go in effect later this summer making the practice illegal. Maybe that’s what we all need to eliminate this bad habit.
I also must send this quick note. I know I recently wrote about getting dressed when you get up in the morning. You may or may not have decided to take that advice, but PLEASE…if you are staying in a hotel and are going to the lobby for breakfast….get dressed! I’ve seen far too many pajama clad people while on vacation.