There are those moments in life that we wish we could do-0ver. A mistake. An accident. And there are those times that are no accident. Maybe it’s one you’ve seen, or been a part of. Either way, it’s something we can all attest to witnessing and (most likely) taking part of: distracted driving. The cell phone in hand, the make-up brush, a razor, a breakfast sandwich or quick bite of lunch, being under the influence, or even driving when emotionally upset are all incidents I’ve seen… and all reasons that non-accidental crashes occur. Being a part of this series in conjunction with The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance, is incredibly important to me for a number of reasons- the most important being: Adelaide. Wanting to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving means more than just writing about it, but me making a more conscious move to practice. I made the decision to Decide to Drive. I want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving and 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. While driving, I’ve taken to using the voice operated options on my phone, yet I’ve come to realize I am still not 100% focused on the most important thing I am doing: driving. The most advanced safety feature my car comes with, is me- My mind, my ability to make quick decisions, which could protect myself and my passengers from crashes, injury and even death. One of the scariest facts? 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. Last year, when I was rear-ended by a texting driver I remember the first thing I did was throw my body around as I heard a sharp scream come from my backseat. Addie and I were on our way to run errands and then meet a friend for lunch. I’d passed a young driver who was going much slower than the usual early lunch-rush traffic, noticing as I looked into his driver side window, that he was looking down at his phone with just one hand on the wheel. It was a warm day- his window rolled down- yet I resisted the urge to honk to alert him to the road ahead, choosing instead to remain in a different lane. Traffic barely slowed, as we came closer to a curve in the highway, so I took my foot gently from the gas when we were hit. I let my vehicle lurch a bit forward to decrease the impact of their car to mine and the heft of slamming on the brake pedal. But I moved fast as my sweet girl, just over a year, let out a curdling scream. All traffic slowed. The driver came from their vehicle and asked if we were ok, “I just looked down for a second,” they’d stammered. I managed not to scream, as I motioned to Addie. “There’s a child here. Your second could have been her life.” I grabbed my cell phone and called 9-1-1. Before pulling over, I snapped pictures of our vehicles for the record. A firetruck pulled over to wait for the police with us, and after I’d given my information- throwing it all at the officer- I pulled back onto the highway to take the exit for the children’s hospital about 100 yards away. We were there in less than 5 minutes, met by my husband. “Don’t take her out,” I snapped. I was sweating, angry and feeling sore myself, but with my worry just about Addie. Hours later, after multiple neruo tests and physicals, a phone call to her specialists in Delaware and a conversation with her pediatrician, we were released for home. In the case of any collision, most carseats need to be replaced. Ours came with a stroller- which was also replaced. The rear damage was substantial, leaving us in a rental for a little over a week. But we all walked away. The outcome in any other moment could have been very different. How can situations like this be avoided? It’s simple: remove the distractions. Make the decision to #DecidetoDrive. In that one second you choose to glance at your own reflection, drive even though you don’t feel right, ignore the posted speed limit, or check your email is the second you’ve given up control. In those fractions of a moment you’ve chosen to risk your life and the lives of others- to divide your attention- you could end up a statistic. Help me increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving and empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving- continue this conversation at home and work. Let’s reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel. For more information, please check out The American Academy of Orthopaedic Specialists, Auto Alliance, and DecideToDrive campaign on Facebook and check back in a few weeks for more information about the Decide to Drive Catchphrase Contest running from May 30-June 13!
It is your turn to share your creative plan and submit your most awesome idea to the Decide to Drive Catch Phrase Contest! Your words could be chosen as the official D2D campaign catch phrase, and you could win one of two $500 runner-up prizes or the $1,000 grand prize! Running May 28-June 13 (2014)- Share your wisdom
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.