Memorial Day Road Trip Memo:
Be Smart + Decide to Drive


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Decide to Drive Program

 

First and foremost, Happy Memorial Day! Freedom isn’t free, so please never miss an opportunity to honor the men and women who put you before themselves. Secondly, I just embarked on a 5.5 hour road trip to Hilton Head and Savannah for Memorial Day weekend (post to come, this much needed trip was amazing), and I’ve never seen a worse display of distracted driving in my entire life. Cars were swerving, alternating speeds, and blatantly driving like morons… and the culprit 9 times out of 10 is the driver’s smart phone. It literally strips the fun out of spending time with your girlfriends on an elongated road trip. I realize kids are excited about beachin’ it for the long weekend, and maybe that Facebook post is vital to the social integrity of their travel agenda, but it drives me cray cray to see a blatant disregard for the safety of neighboring drivers.

 

A study conducted in 2009 by VTTI showed that five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of an entire football field basically blindfolded. Also, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes. That’s a problem, y’all!

 

Distracted Driving Statistics

 

I know many states have enforced formal punishments for texting while driving, and I think that’s an admirable start. Florida, by the way, is not one of those states, although we’re getting there; police can now fine you for texting while driving, but that can’t be the sole reason for pulling you over. Personally, I feel like that only addresses part of the issue. Texting is a repeat offender, but what about talking on the phone, eating, or flailing body parts outside a vehicle, like we witnessed on our road trip? A pack of 4 cars filled with recent graduates (and by their behavior, I’m hoping they were high school graduates) were drag racing, drinking, texting, and gesturing at each other simultaneously on their way to what must’ve been an epic beach celebration. That’s all fine and dandy (minus the drinking– way to go, parents!), except we were on i4 and surrounded by thousands of other vehicles. Luckily, we didn’t witness a crash, but we took the first opportunity we could to get away from their inappropriate and dangerous distracted behavior. Rude with a capital R.

Anyways, the point of this rant is that America is too darn precious to allow these distracted driving behaviors to continue, and in the good spirit of Memorial Day, I’ve pledged to join the “Decide to Drive” movement. Essentially, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving, and I’m doing my part to help. The Decide to Drive program aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving and encourage others to continue their ever-so-important phone conversations at home, work, or during stationary play. Orthopaedic surgeons, ie the specialists who put bones and limbs back together after road crashes and body trauma, along with their partnered automakers, are especially adamant about promoting this message, and they reiterate that the most advanced safety feature of any vehicle is the driver. The AAOS and the Auto Alliance urges all drivers to keep their most sophisticated safety features engaged at all times: their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

I found it kind of ironic that this wise O quote was on my Starbucks cup on the ride to Hilton Head. Kudos to you, AAOS and Auto Alliance, for following your passion and promoting your message!

Passion and Purpose Oprah Winfrey Quote

I’m hoping I can convince a handful of you to also jump on the #DecidetoDrive bandwagon, as well! Speak up and articulate when you see someone participating in distracted driving behavior. Know your facts, and remember that no amount of fancy car gadgets is safer than an attentive driver. Oh, and enter the Decide to Drive catchphrase contest! They’re searching for the best and most clever tag line for this important campaign, so if you’ve got any ideas, enter enter enter!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

♥ Stephanie

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Be Smart + Decide to Drive

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