thankful for a near miss and a reminder to not text and drive

Stop texting while driving

I took this while stopped at a red light. Does that count?

In the midst of rocking out to Pitbull in the car this past Saturday, I heard an alarming screeching sound and instinctively looked up to my rearview mirror. The sight barreling towards us was even more alarming than the sound: a massive pick-up truck, three times the size of my SUV, careening towards us, full speed ahead.

Oh, and did I mention I was stopped at a stop light with cars in front and to my left. With nowhere to go.

I’m not sure in what order the following things occurred but I moved my car as much as I could to the left without hitting the car in front of me or to the side, I pooped in my pants a little bit (not really, but maybe a little), and then I prayed as I watched the reckless vehicle swerve off the road to our right, just barely missing my car and then plowing into a fire hydrant causing a giunormous geyser that surely flooded that already wet, rainy road in minutes.

Though I couldn’t feel my legs nor formulate a coherent sentence, I somehow managed to keep it together (thanks in part to my Lexapro, surely) and, as the light turned green, I drove away. I really didn’t know what else to do. I was so shaken up by the near miss, and the dirty water spraying this way and that, that I just kept on going.

Lexi, in her cuteness said, “Oh mom, I am so glad we didn’t get died.”

“Me too, sweetie, me too.”

I have the driver of that truck to thank for a number of reasons. Number one, for swerving off the road and smashing into the hydrant rather into the back of our car. If his force was enough to bust open a hydrant, I assume it would have caused some serious damage to us and to our car.

Secondly, this near miss was a reminder to me to STAY OFF MY PHONE while in the car. Though I didn’t see whether or not the guy was on his phone, chances are, he was. I had been stopped at the red light for awhile so it wasn’t as if it was a quick stop that he missed. He was most likely looking at an inconsequential text that ended up have a major consequence to him, and the hydrant.

USA Today reports that, “78% of mothers with children under age 2 acknowledge talking on the phone while driving with their babies; 26% say they text or check their e-mail.” And I have to admit that I am one of those mothers. I actually didn’t do it when they were babies, well, because I didn’t own an iPhone back then. But now, I do, and man is it HARD to put that phone away. But after this near miss on Saturday, I just have to remind myself that there is NO REASON to be on my phone while I am driving.

Plus, not only is it dangerous to myself, my kids, and everyone else on the road, but it also sets a horrible example for my kids. If they see me doing it now, then they’re going to do it when they get their own cars, (when they’re 40).

Back in January of 2010, I took Oprah’s Pledge to not text while driving. Again, that was before the iPhone crack habit began. But now, nearly three years later, I am taking that pledge once again. I will put my phone where it’s not accessible while I’m driving, and I am going to download one of the myriad apps that helps hinder phone usage while driving.

Though really, when I think about it, I don’t really want an app that tells people that I’m driving. Can’t they just wait to hear back from me like they did in the “olden” days?

By the way, I also used to take video footage of my kids while driving. Um, NOT SAFE. So now, I park when they’re doing something cute so I capture this goodness. Enjoy!

[pinit]

4 Comments

  1. 1
    mariana salerno says:

    Thanks for reminding me of how important this is, I was just thinking the other day that I need to be more careful. So glad you guys are okay!

  2. 2
    sara says:

    Oh my god. I am so glad that you are both ok.
    I never text whilst driving and hardly ever talk on the phone unless my handsfree is switched on.

  3. 3
    Erik Wood says:

    I think we live in a culture where business people need to ‘hit the ball over the net’. Teens consider it rude not to reply immediately to texts. Home schedules would grind to a halt without immediate communication. We are conditioned to pursue this level of efficiency but we are all supposed cease this behavior once we sit in our respective 5,000 pound pieces of steel and glass. I read that more than 3/4 of teens text daily – many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook – even with their professors. Tweens (ages 9 -12) send texts to each other from their bikes.

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user, I built a texting asset called OTTER that is a simple and intuitive GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. While driving, OTTER silences those distracting call ringtones and chimes unless a bluetooth is enabled. The texting auto reply allows anyone to schedule a ‘texting blackout period’ in any situation like a meeting or a lecture without feeling disconnected. This software is a social messaging tool for the end user that also empowers this same individual to be a sustainably safer driver.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER app
    do one thing well… be great.

  4. 4

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