Prepare yourself…my geek factor is about to go up exponentially. Today I was reading my AAA Living magazine – the magazine distributed by AAA to its members. It generally has information about vehicles, safety and travel in very short and easily digestible chunks. I don’t know that merely reading it elevates my geek factor dramatically. The real geek factor magnifier is the fact that I read it before other magazines like Time, The New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly, Woman’s Day, Health, Glamour, etc., etc. (what can I say – we get a lot of magazines here).
I like all the safety statistics the AAA magazine regularly addresses. Remember, I am always scanning the horizon for risks – that is my gig after all. The AAA magazine regularly speaks to safety…which equates with risk reduction…which makes a risk geek like me a very happy camper. So I not only read the magazine, I read it first (yep – major geek).
The March/April edition has a one page piece on Teens’ Risky Habits that is short and to the point, but that really hits on risks associated with teen driving. I am not going to speak to the entirety of the piece here, but if you have a teen driver I strongly urge you to visit AAA’s teen driving website at TeenDriving.AAA.com (with your teen in tow).
My favorite part of the one page piece about teen driving was the focus on distracted driving. According to AAA, “looking away from the road for two seconds doubles your chance of crashing.” They suggest bringing these stats to life for teens by having them close their eyes for two seconds and try to walk down a crowded school hallway without bumping into anyone or anything. I love that idea.
I tried this at home – in a place that I know well and where there is virtually no people traffic – and I had a close encounter with a chair. An effective example I think. I think you could also count out loud while driving on a busy two-way street – one Mississippi, two Mississippi. That allows you to illustrate the cars you could have hit either next to you or head on in those couple of seconds.
As a mom I can tell you that my feeling is that I have spent far too much time and energy trying to keep my kids safe to allow them to get into a vehicle ill-informed. I am already planning my strategy for keeping Cheyenne safe when she starts driving (which is still a handful of years away).
But let’s face it folks, it isn’t just teens who can potentially be distracted – increasingly, we are all more distracted. The commute to work has become more than a drive, it has become an opportunity to multitask. Remember though – it only takes two seconds to double your chances of an accident. Look at the folks near you when you drive and remember that your two second distraction could cost them their life. Indeed, look around at all the folks around you that are distracted that could cost you or one of your family members’ their lives.
Try it – one Mississippi, two Mississippi – and tell me, is whatever you do that distracts you from the road more important than a life? Teach your teens the perils of distracted driving and then do the most powerful thing you can to cement that message – role model the behavior you want to see.
Day six hundred and twenty-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da