October is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and I'm asking for your help. We Need You! We need you to help us help the young drivers in your family avoid distracted driving.
As a parent who managed to teach two teenagers how to drive and survive, I've seen my fair share of eye-rolls. A simple little, "I love you. Please drive safe." Was all it took to induce an eye-roll as they were walking out the door. If "Drive Safe" caused and eye-roll than, "Dont use your phone whie driving" was gauarunteed to enduce an eye-roll along with a "I know, I won't". Their eye-rolls always reminded of the magnets my mother used to paint that said, "Hire a teenager while they still know everything." She painted those while I was a teenager and put them on the fridge. I'm beginning to think she was trying to tell me something.
So, how exactly do you help your young driver avoid distracted driving without causing them to give you an eye-roll in one simple step? I'll show you how, right now.
Now, this is going to sound very simple, and you might even eye-roll me for this, but it is easier said than done in the "got to have it now" world we live in these days.
Here how: If you know your young driver is driving, don't send them a text message or a snap chat.
How hard is that? Extremely hard. We've all likely been there. They leave the house and start driving toward school, and we wonder if they remembered to grab their science project. We don't want to have to drop everything and make a trip to the school in 25 minutes, so let's send a quick text message to "catch them" before they get too far away.
Now, how many times have we likely told them not to use their phone while driving, but do we expect that they won't read it until they get to school? No, we are trying to reach them while they are driving. We, as parents, are actively trying to get them to use their phones while driving. Oh, but this was urgent. Yes, perhaps it is urgent, but it's not an emergency. I'm sure there are way too many parents in this world wishing that they, at one point, had the patience to wait for their child to get to their destination before sending them a message. Do you get what I'm saying here?
This is why we need you. We need your help to help our young drivers get to where they are going, as safely as possible.
I understand, I'm in this with you and this takes patience and will power on our part. It's much easier said than done, and we might have a million excuses to send the message right away.
When I say, "We Need You," I'm part of the "we" along with your kids and the other members of our community who are sharing the road with your kids. We do not drive down our roads alone. We all need you. Please help provide the greatest opportunity for your young drivers to make it to their destination safely. Once they get to their destination, send the message. Then, when you are delivering their science project to them 25 minutes later, feel free to give them an eye-roll but feel thankful that you can.
I'm picturing a large bear pointing at the screen saying, "Only you" can prevent distracted driving.
Thank You and Drive Safe, Missoula.