Since I've been able to drive and talk on the cell phone I have heard my mom say over and over again: "Get off the phone while driving!" I would always roll my eyes and keep doing it (in love of course).
You see I'm not a phone person. I love people, but hate talking on the phone. If you are a close friend or family you know that it can take weeks for me to call back.... if ever (no you are not alone in your frustration with my phone habits). I don't even like answering voice mail.
BUT the one time I didn't mind talking on the phone was the car-- I mean, what else did I have to to do? In a society of major multi-taskers its the logical thing to do.
All of that changed for me two weeks ago. PLEASE KEEP READING!
I know not everyone loves Oprah, and that is fine. Two weeks ago she had an incredible show titled: "America's New Deadly Obsession." See this link to watch it.
The show talked about some SHOCKING STATISTICS.
Driving under the influence of alcohol = 4 times more likely to have an accident.
We all know that. It's not a good thing to do. But this wasn't a show about drinking.
Driving while talking on the phone (even hands free) = 4 times more likely to have an accident.
Driving while texting = 5 times more likely to have an accident.
I would never drive under the influence of alcohol, I know those risks. But I NEVER thought that EVERY TIME I PICK UP THE PHONE I am doing the same thing. And every time I send just one "real quick" text, I am doing significantly worse.
I know what you are thinking: You have really mastered the art of it and know you aren't distracted. Well they brought 3 people that do this all the time and really believed they weren't affected by it. It was CRAZY to see how much they were affected by it.
On top of that, and this is the most heartbreaking, many families shared their stories of losing loved ones because either they or someone else was talking or texting.
Two stories changed it all for me:
1. There was a man driving a truck and shot a quick text. However when he looked down he didn't realize his truck was swerving to the next lane. What he never would've imagined is that a school bus full of children was next to him. The bus went off the road and caught fire as it crashed. Twenty something children died that day because he wanted to send "just one quick text, no big deal."
2. A little girl was riding her bike home from school, she was just five houses from home. At the same time a woman was on her way home, just around the block from her house. She was talking on the phone. She never would've realized that it made her so distracted she missed seeing the little girl (because when you talk on the phone, you lose your peripheral vision and only have tunnel vision). That day that girl died instantly on impact.
So my question for myself that day was: Is it worth it? What phone call would be worth putting myself and others 4 times more likely risk of getting in an accident. Do I really have that right to choose that I could over come the odds.
My family lost my uncle 32 years ago in a car accident. My cousin lost her husband 1 1/2 years ago in a car accident. Neither lost their life due to cell phones. But our family can testify to the pain of losing someone instantly and far too soon.
SO PLEASE MAKE THE CHOICE TODAY TO NOT TALK OR TEXT WHILE DRIVING. Also make the choice to tell others!
I promise you it will be hard and awkward at first. I can't tell you how many times I've subconsciously reached for the phone. But I can also say that it has been really relaxing to have that "just me" time in the car.
Your life is worth it.
The single mom driving next you, her life is worth it.
That 3 month old in the car in front of you, his life is worth it.
Your life is worth it. Their lives are worth it. Please get off the phone!