There are some things you do in the car when you’re driving alone, like listen to the Love station on satellite radio and rock out to Air Supply or Barry Manilow at full volume. If no one else is in the car with you, it’s like it never happened. After all, it’s only wrong if someone else is listening, right?
There are some things, however, that are never OK to do in the car — especially when the kids are in the car, but it’s really never all right considering you’re sharing the road with vehicles that contain other people’s kids. And parents. And grandparents. And cousins. And aunts. And uncles. You get the idea.
Here are five things that you should never, ever do while behind the wheel:
It sounds obvious, but all you have to do is watch moving vehicles pass you by for a few minutes to see just how many people text or email while driving. Whether reading or sending a text, it necessarily means you’re taking your eyes off the road, which means your reaction time is off, and the statistics on accidents and deaths on the road as a result of texting will make you shiver straight to your bones. Nothing is so important that it can’t wait until you safely pull over to check your phone to send or receive a message. Nothing. Because nothing is more important than the kids in your car and the kids in the cars who are sharing the road with you.
2. Talk on the phone
Laws vary from state to state on whether it’s legal to talk on the phone while driving. Some states outlaw handheld phones but allow devices like Bluetooth. Even still, dialing, setting an earpiece into place, looking for the button to press Send or End, and just chatting away for business or pleasure can mean a precious second or two that you take your eyes off the road, which could mean the difference between not seeing an oncoming car or swerving into another lane. Think before you speak on the phone in the car — or better yet, wait until you get where you’re to make or take that call. You do remember there was once a time before cell and car phones and we all muddled through, right?
3. Apply makeup
It sounds so ludicrous, but there are women who apply lipstick and even mascara while driving. You might be so good with a blush brush that you can use one as well as a pro, even in your sleep. But driving requires a lot more focus than sleeping. If you’re in that much of a hurry, maybe you just need to cancel what you’re doing altogether. Just remember — you look just fine now without makeup compared to how you’ll look if you have an accident because you were applying eyeliner while in motion.
4. Eat fast food
Fast food is seemingly made to wolf down while on the road, but it can be messy, and while you might not care if your car interior gets greasy from French fries or an errant chicken nugget, you might involuntarily look away from what’s happening on the road if your straw drops to the floor or a frosty tips over and spills all over the passenger seat.
5. Retrieve a toy
Spend a few minutes in a car with a toddler and you know they can never, ever seem to hold onto their toys. Or sippy cups. Or binkies. Or just about anything. And when their stuff drops, they start screaming as if their world is collapsing and only you can save it by retrieving what has been dropped right now. Don’t do it, however. Turning around while the car is in motion to try and find what’s been lost could be a matter of real life and death, not the imaginary one that your toddler imagines for the few minutes they’re without their lovey. They can wait, even if their screams seems to suggest otherwise.
Photo credit: iStock
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