Way back on New Year’s Day 2009 I remember having a conversation on Facebook with a friend about texting while driving and the new Minnesota law going into effect that would make texting while driving illegal in Minnesota. At the time I had a simple phone and only texted on the rarest of occasions. For me it was a no-brainer. It was simply out of the question. Of course, if you asked my husband, I was lucky if my phone was charged (or in my purse) on most days, so it was also a non-issue.
Fast forward a few years and I am connected to my phone pretty much 24/7, well, maybe not when I’m asleep. But, the moment I had a smart phone in my possession, my world changed. I spent hours a day nursing my son with nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs and watch PBS while my boys played quietly at my feet (or something to that effect) and soon my eyes were opened up with Twitter, Facebook and every other app I could find to connect me to the world with the push of a button. I was fully immersed in social media within weeks. I enjoy being connected.
Except when I am driving.
I hardly ever talk on the phone in the car. Sitting parked in a parking lot? Yes. Pulled over on the side of the road? Sure. When I was being followed on my way home from work late one night and frantically called 911? Obviously an exception! Texting, checking email (even at stop-lights!) never even crosses my mind. Feeling the urge to dig through my purse for a ringing phone makes me cringe. I know I shouldn’t do it.
But, it happens. Even if I can’t think of too many reasons worth the risks of answering a phone or making a call when I should be paying attention to the road. I think we also like to think that distracted driving is a curse of the young, but judging by the way that minivan in front of me (with the phone glued to the left ear of the driver) is drifting all over the road, it’s a problem across the board.
So, I’m trying to up my game.
I’m taking the Phone Down, Eyes Up Challenge with Anna at Motherly Law. I will turn my phone off. I will put my purse in the backseat so I am not tempted to pull it out. If I need to pull over to make a call, I will pull over. Does this add a little time to my drive? Sure. Is that call from my husband asking me how my day is going worth the risk to myself and everyone around me? No.
So what do you think? Can you give up your phone while you are driving? Will you take the challenge? What would you be willing to risk losing to keep that phone in your hand and your eyes on the screen instead of the road?