I read a story in the news that on April 2014, Courtney Ann Sanford was driving along in a very happy mood. She may even have been humming the chart-topping hit “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, of that we’ll never know. But what we do know is that at 8:33 a.m.Courtney sent a text message, or rather a Facebook status update, which simply said: “The happy song makes me HAPPY.” Seconds later her life was over after her vehicle crashed on a North Carolina interstate highway. She had been taking some selfies too, as police had discovered when they recovered the smartphone from the wreckage.
I am not going to lie, I have both read and sent texts while driving and I am writing this because I want to challenge myself and you not to do it anymore. Its become more of a temptation for some of us than anything. Its a distraction. We hear a little bing or alert and we feel we need to immediately check who is texting us or what someone just wrote on our Facebook status. Maybe it is the wife asking to pick some spinach up at Trader Joes, who knows, it could be anything. But, for me, texting while driving has become a bad habit. One that I am willing to break.
I watch the commercials and news in a casual fashion about the dangers of texting, but have not really paid attention until I had my daughter. First off, I don’t want her to see me texting because its a poor example and I dont’ want her to text and drive. Second, I don’t’ want to text and cause an accident that hurts my daughter or others. The urgency of posting a perfect picture or crazy selfie to instagram can wait. I can learn patience as I sit at a long light or traffic.
So, instead of highlighting the hundreds of sad and gory stories out there about people who text and lost their life, took a life or are forever crippled, I would like to focus on a solution. I am not trying to start a campaign or movement, but want to spread some encouragement to do the right thing.
Texting while driving is not the right thing.
Knowing that truth is all good and dandy, but we also know fast food is not good for us, but we do it anyways – right? It is about learning to break a bad habit and resisting temptation. I watched a story about one dad who used woman’s nail polish to put on his thumb so when he would start to text, he would see his finger painted in red and it would be a visual reminder. I like that idea and if it works for him or others who want to try it – awesome. For me, it would be a little more challenging to do that or I should just say, I don’t feel like painting my nails. But, I think a strong visual reminder can be a good thing as it will assist in breaking a habit that acts on it’s own. I thought about using something like a finger puppet, like the picture you see. It is hard to text and drive with something that doesn’t permit you to navigate well on a phone. Plus if my daughter is getting fussy in the backseat, I can do the thumb dance with the puppet. Or, if someone cuts me off and I feel like I want to let them now how upset I am by their reckless driving, I could give them the thumb!
Simple rules to break the habit of texting and driving.
- Don’t have your phone up where you are driving – put it in the trunk of the car or back of car or under your seat.
- Turn your phone off.
- Have a visual reminder or note in the front that says, “Don’t text and it will all be good!”
- Have someone be your accountability partner – you tell them you want to not text and drive and they hold you to it.
“Just be smart, use your brain and do the right thing.” are the words my parents have communicated with me since I was old enough to comprehend information. I am in my 40’s now and this principle still applies.
Lets work together and make the road and world a safer and happier place, don’t text and drive. My name is Sam and I text and drive…NO MORE!
Make the same declaration:
My Name is ______________________________and I text and drive…..NO MORE!!