Friday, May 16, 2014

Keep Your Family Safe in the Car This Summer!

One thing I pride myself in is my supreme ability to multi-task. Waiting to see the doctor? Bust out some emails. Walking the dogs? Check the mail while I'm at it. Riding as a passenger on a long road trip? Sketch up and plan my garden. I'm sure I'm not alone in this!

The one time I do my best not to multi-task? When I'm behind the wheel of my car.

Multi-tasking from the front passenger seat is a great idea - when you're driving, though? No dice.

Even my son knows it. This is a common conversation in our car:

K: Mooom! I dropped my ___________. Can you get it for me?

Me: Not right now, kiddo. Mama's busy driving.

K: Ok. How about if we stop at a red light? Can you get it for me then?

At four years old, he gets it. If mom says she's busy driving, you're on your own or you need to wait.

That's not to say he likes it all the time. And he often gets annoyed with some of features of our car that we love that keep us safe - like voice activated navigation, climate control and radio controls.

Moooom. Stop talkin to the car. I'm tryin to think! - may be a common complaint from our backseat. 

Decide to Drive

I know this is a hard thing to talk about. As Americans we constantly feel stretched for time. There just aren't enough hours in the day to get what we need to do done. Why not double up and get some work done while you're driving?

One big reason:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes. When I'm driving my babies around in my car, that's not a risk I want to take on them and it's not a risk I want to take with other people either.

Plus, kids are sponges. They absolutely soak up what their parents do. If they see mom and dad texting, putting on make up, or focusing on anything other than driving, that's what they will learn to do and will emulate when they become drivers themselves.

YOU are the most valuable safety feature!

Remember, the most advanced safety feature of any vehicle is the driver. The AAOS and the Auto Alliance urges all drivers to keep their most sophisticated safety features engaged at all times: eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

The Decide to Drive program from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (the people who spend their time re-assembling victims or crashes and trauma) and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving. Their goal is to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving, continue the conversation at home, work and play, and reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel. Get resources to talk about this (especially if you have older kids approaching driving age!) and learn more on the Decide to Drive campaign website.

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