It was a sunny day about 13 years ago. I was rushing, as usual, like many moms do. It was the day of my son’s kindergarten graduation, and my neighbor’s nanny was supposed to watch my youngest for the afternoon. Except when I rang the doorbell, she wasn’t there. I was going to be late. I couldn’t be late.
I panicked. I called my neighbor and she told me to drive around the block and look for the nanny – that she might be out for a walk with the toddler. So I strapped my 5 and 2 year olds into their booster seats and started driving around.
I scanned side to side, nervously trying to keep my eyes on both the sidewalk and the quiet suburban streets. There’s a chance I was going a little too fast. The babysitter was nowhere to be found. My son was getting impatient. It was all falling apart. I started to panic a little.
And then, I pulled my eyes forward to imminent disaster. It was a garbage truck. And it had appeared out of nowhere. About 10 feet from the front of my moving vehicle. I SLAMMED on my breaks, but my minivan just kept going. I was too close,; there was no stopping.
CRASH. There’s nothing like the sound of impact, of metal on metal. Thunk. Crunch. The kids started to cry, I started to shake.
The one second I took my eyes off the road to look for that nanny was the one that made all the difference. Happily, my kids were ok, which when it all boils down, is all that matters. My car was damaged, and so was my ego. Lucky for me, the flashing lights on the garbage truck were not functioning, so the city didn’t file a police report. But I didn’t need a piece of paper to remind me that I’d screwed up. The next time, and forever on, I needed to make sure I was keeping my full attention on the task at hand – driving.
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of collisions and one of the most avoidable too. Whether you’re checking your smartphone, shooting an evil look into the back seat (annoying carpool passenger), or looking in the rearview for an errant chin hair, anything that causes you to take your eyes off the road is a distraction. And all it takes is a split second to change your whole life.
The experience I shared, filed in the Annals of Mara as “That time I hit a garbage truck” was a wake-up call that nobody wants to have. Driving requires my full attention. When I lost focus on the road, even for just a moment, I put my children, those garbage men, and myself at risk.
I don’t want to go through that experience ever again. Just so I don’t forget, I’m going to head over and join the CAASCO Distracted Driving Campaign. By logging into caasco.com/focus and making a promise to my friends and family to focus on the road,. I’m going to make a commitment to being a mindful driver at all times. I invite you to join me. If we all do it, the roads will be a whole lot safer, don’t you think?
About the Distracted Driving Campaign:
CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) and other traffic safety partners have come together to launch a six week long education and awareness campaign
The Distracted Driving Campaign runs July 29 – Sept 12. It’s simple to participate. Just visit caasco.com/focus and make your promise.
You can also participate in the Twitter party on August 5 at 12 noon est. Tweet your distracted driving stories & promise to @CAASCO, or visit CAASCO’s Facebook page and join the conversation.
Note: This post was generously sponsored by CAA South Central Ontario as part of their Distracted Driving Campaign. All opinions are my own.