Let me state right up front that I’m not condoning texting while driving: it’s stupid, reckless, and shows a total disregard for life (yours and everyone else’s). Don’t do it. The same goes for emailing, Facebooking, tweeting, etc. What I am saying is…and let’s be honest here…that distracted driving has been around as long as there have been moms behind the wheel and kids in the backseat. And I don’t see that changing unless carseats are issued with straitjackets and duct tape.
I’d like to hear from any moms who can honestly say they haven’t done at least some of these things while driving:
- Held onto a screaming infant’s foot, alternating between, “Mommy’s here,” and “We’re almost home!”
- Practiced your hand/eye coordination skills by tossing a sippy cup over your shoulder, between the heads of the two kids in the middle row, and (hopefully) into the lap of the kid in the third row.
- Leaned over sideways in your seat trying to reach under the passenger seat, where said sippy cup rolled because the kid in the back had fallen asleep by the time you got the sippy cup back there.
- Swatted blindly into the backseat hoping to connect with any part of any child.
- Handed goldfish one at a time to the toddler who’s sitting directly behind you.
- Tried to aim the air conditioning vent into the face of the kid who’s falling asleep (because if he naps for 5 even minutes in the car, he’s done for the day).
- Reached behind you to grab whatever child-created nastiness you don’t want ground into your seats or carpet.
- Tried to dump groceries out of a bag and get the bag to the child who’s about to throw up…and then do the same with all the other bags before the chain reaction starts.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve spent 25% of my driving time over the last 10 years with one hand reaching into the backseat. And then there’s the noise level. You can’t tell me kids crying, arguing, or even laughing (if they’re as loud as mine) is less distracting than talking hands-free to your BFF. I remember one time when our kids were 3, 1, and newborn. All three were crying. Not just whimpering….wailing at the top of their lungs. My husband was driving, and we just wanted to get home. We weren’t paying attention to our speed, but the nice police officer was. When he asked my husband why he was in such a hurry, my husband (very politely) invited him to stick his head in the car. We got off with a laugh and a warning. But the point is that we weren’t really thinking about the speed limit; we were just thinking about getting out of the car before we lost our minds.
What about you? How do you handle kid-induced distractions when you’re driving?