By Rachel Hoeing

We all know texting while driving is dangerous. We’ve all read the stories of the last extremely unimportant text that someone felt the need to send, seconds before they were killed in a crash. We’ve seen the families of the innocent by-standers who were minding their own business when a car came out of nowhere and hit them because the driver was busy doing something on his phone.

I for one, know how dangerous it is, yet I have still found myself with that urge to pick up the phone while in traffic, while at a stoplight, while driving … but I recently have realized there is more to it than just the immediate danger. Guess who is watching every move I make? My kids.

How in the world do we ever expect our teenagers to adhere to the no texting while driving rule when they have watched us do it the entire time they rode with us as children?

My children are 9 and 11, which means they do not really remember the world when we only used cell phones for emergencies and when the smartphone was only a dream. My children only know the world as the place where people are slaves to their phones and keep them within arms reach 24 hours a day. Not only do I want to show them that this is not necessary, but I want to show them how dangerous this way of thinking can be.

A few ideas that my friends and I have shared on this topic:

– Make a point to put your phone/purse in the back of the car when driving. Tell your children you are doing this in order to keep everyone safe so that you are not tempted to pick it up.

– If you are running late or need to know something immediately, ask your child to send the text, or look up the info for you. Explain to them how dangerous it is for you to do it while you are in control of the vehicle.

– Pull over!! You are looking for an address and your map isn’t working correctly on your phone. Pull over and search for what you need.

– If you have babies, even better … you get to start fresh. Never let them see you hold the phone while driving. You will be the best role model yet!

– Remember that other kids are watching you, too. My children have said to me, “Did you know that Mrs. xxx is always using her phone when we are in the car?” Yikes! Explain the dangers to all the kids you may shuttle around in your vehicle.

– Explain to your children that there are very, very few circumstances in life where a message cannot wait. And if you find yourself in one of those very few circumstances, use one of the tips above!

Please, please, share this message with others. Let’s band together as moms and set good examples for our children. Whether they are 2 or 15, they will be driving before we know it. Set your ground rules and be a good role model now so that you will feel a little better when they are on the road themselves.

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