A shoe breezes by my ear and nearly knocks me off course. A sock follows shortly after. Oh, you need a tissue? OK, here. Can you reach?
In addition to objects making their way into the front seat of my car, sibling battles are also common. Not to mention the many times I have to avoid the bad drivers on the freeways and city streets of Vacaville.
There are enough distractions while I am driving. My cellphone does not need to be another one. That’s why I took The Pledge.
You may have seen the commercials for this marketing campaign – the one with the slogan, “It Can Wait.” There are also stickers with a hand and the same slogan. I decided that my cellphone can wait. Texts can wait, phone calls can wait. Nothing is so important that I have to answer my texts and phone calls while I am driving – especially when I have my kids in the car.
Several months ago, I went online to Take the Pledge, promising not to text while I drive. They sent me a sticker to put on my car and so that I don’t forget my promise, I stuck it to the driver’s-side window. I can see it, other drivers can see it and are free to call me out if they see me pick up my phone.
It hasn’t happened yet. No one has needed to call me out because I haven’t picked up my phone to check a text since taking the pledge. If the phone rings and it’s deemed important, I answer it and talk on the phone with the hands-free option. Sometimes I just ignore it and call the person back when I get to my destination.
My kids noticed the sticker right away and asked about it. I told them I promised not to text and limit the use of my phone in the car. They said OK. When my phone rings or gives the notification that I have a text, they will ask why I don’t answer.
“I took the pledge, girls,” I say.
“Oh yeah!” they reply.
It’s good accountability, since they are in the car with me a whole lot. I know they will call me out if they see me texting at a stoplight. I have to be a good role model and stick to my promise.
I’m trying to use my cellphone less and it’s hard, I admit. But there’s no need to be plugged in all the time. I see the folks who are driving with their eyes moving up and down from their laps to the road (I know what you are doing – stop reading your texts!). Some people don’t even bother to hide their phones and they have it in their hands so they can keep their eyes somewhat on the road while they are driving. It’s not working, people!
I took the pledge because I want to be a safe driver. I want to have my priorities straight and pay attention to my kids when they are in the car with me (and avoid flying shoes). What happened during their day takes precedence over what someone just posted on Facebook.
I took the pledge and I think you should do the same. Challenge yourself and see if you can do it. Take the pledge for one week. Put your phone out of sight while you are in the car, put it on silent if you can. Nothing is as important as the moment you are driving in the car to your destination.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.