Let’s talk cell phones while driving.
If you’re like most parents, your kids are the most important people in your life. You do everything you possibly can to protect them and make their surroundings safe and happy places. You also do everything you can to instill values and habits in them that will ensure their growing up to become responsible adults.
But are you unknowingly teaching them to become unsafe drivers?
Every time you and the kids get into the car, you make sure everyone is bucked up before you turn on the ignition, right? And you put your cellphone in your pocket or purse where it stays the whole time you’re behind the wheel, right?
Let’s talk cell phones while driving!
Wait. You don’t? You mean you sometimes actually use it while driving? That’s not being a good role model for your kids. Studies show that if they don’t see you using your cellphone while driving, they stand a drastically reduced chance of using one themselves when they start driving.
Distracted driving has reached epic proportions in the U.S., and by far the biggest distraction is people using their cell phone while driving. Last year, 4,637 people died in a car crash on American roads because of cellphone usage. In 2017, such usage caused approximately 1.5 million U.S. crashes.
Other alarming statistics include the following:
- At any hour of the day or night, about 7% of drivers are using their cellphones.
- Cellphones are the major, if not the only, factor in about 14% of all fatal crashes.
- When you answer a text while driving, you become distracted for an average of five seconds. During this time your car travels well over 100 feet, the length of a football field.
- When you talk or text on your cellphone while driving, your reaction time decreases by the same amount as it would if you had a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, most states’ legal maximum.
Hands-Free Is Not Risk-Free
Even if you have hands-free technology in your car that allows you to use your cellphone while driving without actually holding it, this does not protect you. It’s still a highly dangerous practice. Why? Because your brain cannot do two things at the same time.
Consequently, when you use your cellphone hands-free while driving, your brain can operate at only 67% capacity to see and process movement around you. Worse yet, it can operate at only 50% capacity to see and process stationary objects around you.
You serve as a role model for your kids the whole time they’re growing up. What you do and don’t do influences their future behavior far more than what you say or don’t say. This is just as true when it comes to using a cellphone while driving as it is with anything else.
Therefore, if you want your kids to become safe and responsible drivers when they get their licenses, you must be one yourself. Every time. All the time. Never use your cellphone while you’re behind the wheel. Let those calls and texts wait until afterward.
I’m a huge promoter of unplugging to connect with your family. Try it in the car too!