Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year New Goal

Goodbye 2011 and HELLO 2012!

I'd like to make a New Year's Resolution about driving...but I can't seem to think of a good one. I stopped eating in the car for a month this past February, so I won't use that as blog material this year. I already don't drink and drive. Well, I don't drink alcohol ever, so that's not tough to do. I use my blinker and make complete stops. My phone operates in the speaker position when I'm driving. I can't resolve for my children to behave better in the car since I don't control them. When I have so many good driving habits, it's difficult to find and fine tune the little deficiencies.

But perhaps there is something I can do to influence the atmosphere in my vehicle. I can change my stress level which has the potential to positively affect their behavior.

I think fighting is the worst out of them. And they don't do it every time I drive. Only when we're late. So I guess that's a lot of times.

In January, I will get out the door with enough time so that we arrive at our destination ten minutes early. We will experience what life is like when we're not in a rush. When there isn't pressure to get somewhere quick. Leaving early will build in extra time for the last minute emergencies that invariably pop up before we get out the door (read diaper blow outs or searching for missing shoes).

This challenge will be bigger and more grandiose than the last one. Pretty much because it's ten percent longer...aka three days since January is longer than February. Ha ha.

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.

My new resolution: Arrive at destinations 10 minutes early.
Start date: January 1, 2012
End date: January 31, 2012

Steps to accomplish the goal:
1. Keep shoe shelf organized.
2. Figure out how much time it will take to drive somewhere and add 10 minutes.
3. Get out the door early.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What do you do when you see texting while driving?

Have you ever been driving down the road and looked to the person driving next to you only to notice that instead of paying an ounce of attention to the road, he is looking down at his phone while texting? This has happened to me too many times to count.

I'm determined not to write, send, or read text messages while driving. For my safety, because it's the law, and because I'm usually driving with this extremely precious cargo...

Distracted driving to me is looking in the rear view mirror at this cute little face while I'm driving, and occasionally paying too much attention to my navigation when I'm going some place I've never been before. Don't get me wrong, I'm tempted to grab my phone when I hear the little text message or email notification, but it's not worth looking. Nothing is as urgent as getting to my destination safely.

Despite the texting ban in Washington, I constantly see people texting/looking at their phones while driving. I usually get a little upset, but don't do anything. Occasionally, I have honked my horn to shift the driver's attention. Not only are these people putting their lives in danger, but as a driver sharing the road with them, they are also putting me and my family in danger.

I have been wondering lately what the proper etiquette is when I see somebody clearly paying more attention to his/her phone than the road. Do I simply ignore it? Do I honk at them to let them know that I noticed? Should I report it? I'm not sure that anything would come of reporting it. Plus, if I got the license plate number and made a phone call while driving, I would likely be more distracted than the distracted driver I am reporting.

What do you think? Do you do anything when you witness drivers texting while driving?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Teach Your Teen: Set The Example

My eight year old son sits next to his infant sister in our car. He likes to play with her and he's pretty good about putting her pacifier in when she cries. Recently, she was crying and the binkie wasn't calming her down. He got frustrated. And he yelled, "Come on! Mom, it's not working!"

Our binkie loving baby.
Seriously?! He just raised his voice? To a baby? Two realizations hit me. First, my son doesn't understand the difference between an infant's mental abilities and those of an older child. She's not trying to make him angry. He's just not meeting her needs. She wants her diaper changed or she's hungry, so giving her a binkie isn't going to calm her.  Second, it's obvious that I've been frustrated and raised my voice too many times. He's mimicking me. This isn't exactly the lesson I meant to teach my son.

I'm teaching him the same lessons each time I drive. He will pick up on all of my habits. For better or worse. Remember earlier this year when I stopped eating in the car? Well, my kids also stopped eating in the car, too. And driving down the big hill near our house...well he's learning that riding the brake isn't the best thing in the world to do. He's also learning that we stop at red lights. That we look before changing lanes. And mom talks on speaker phone while driving. In addition to the basics, there is so much more.

This time of year is usually tragic for many families. There are tons of parties and  holiday celebrations and  many people drinking alcohol. That makes for some dangerous roads. And yes, there are more patrols out trying to get drunk drivers off the road and keep us safe. But stories of fatal collisions continue to pile up every year. I don't want one of those stories to be about my family.

Whether your kids are with you at the party or not, it's important to teach them how to behave. Tell them how much they mean to you. Let them see you plan ahead for how you're getting home. They will learn from your example. Let them see you arrange for a designated driver. Or call for a taxi ride home. If you are staying home, open a line of communication with them about alcohol, parties, and driving. It' is safer to stay home than to be on the roads with drunks.

Set the example. The example of defensive driving habits. The example of planning ahead. The example that your actions speak so much louder than words.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gift Card Winner

Not only am I celebrating my birthday today, but I'm also celebrating because Ashley can use the $25 gift card to Advance Auto Parts that has been patiently waiting for over a year to be spent. Congratulations Ashley!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Backing-In Project

My husband has been lecturing me on the virtues of backing cars into the driveway for years. It's safer, it's easier to drive away, yada, yada, yada. I guess I've always agreed that it's a good idea, but not worth my time or energy.

Last week, I witnessed a near miss that scared me into having a change of heart. It all happened in a matter of seconds. I had parked across the street from my house to get the mail. I got out of my car and noticed my neighbor backing out of his driveway. Normally this wouldn't cause any alarm, but I also happened to notice that three children were approaching his car. Because of a hedge on my neighbor's yard, neither the kids, nor the driver saw each other. The kids were talking and laughing while walking home from school, completely oblivious to the car that was about to him them. The driver was minding his own business, backing out of his driveway, completely oblivious to the children that would appear behind his car in mere seconds. It wasn't until I screamed at the kids to stop, that they stopped in their tracks and noticed that they were about a foot away from being hit by an approaching car. The incident nearly gave me a heart attack.

Since that day, I have backed my car into the driveway every time I have come home. I have been convinced that it's just much safer. I'm not going to lie, it is more of a pain than simply pulling in and parking, but I'm getting used to it and getting better at it. 

I also must add that I have noticed that my neighbor has also been backing his car in since that day.

(This isn't my car or my house, but this guy also thinks backing his car in is pretty awesome).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

$25 Gift Card Giveaway

Tyler: Hello! How may I help you today?
You: I have a gift card. How do I complete the online order? There doesn't seem to be a place to enter in the information.
Tyler: Gift cards are in store only
You: I live near Seattle. How can I use the gift card?
Tyler: Sorry but thats a in store item only you can only use it in a local advance store 
You: Ridiculous.
Tyler: I am sorry you feel that way but it says when you buy it in store only 
You: It was a gift to me...hence the name: gift card.
Tyler: Well people buy them because they think they are accepted online and never read the details 
You: Perhaps you should instigate a change in the company. Every other store on the planet with gift cards accepts them for online purchases.
Tyler: Every other store just not us at this time sorry 
You: Does the value of the card ever expire?
Tyler: I dont think so it should say in the front if it does but I dont see why 
You: Okay. What states are you in?
Tyler: Sorry but there is not store in Washington at this time. At this time only in the east coast and Texas 
You: Thanks.
Tyler: Thank you for chatting with Advance Auto Parts. Join us on FaceBook!

I want you to know that I had to work for the card in question. I got it last year at the Driving School Association of the Americas conference after I participated in a focus group for Advance Auto Parts. I was cleaning my desk today, found it and decided to go online and finally use it. How was I supposed to know its limitations? 
This is what I wanted. It's only $14.99. But with $8.66 for shipping, it quickly ate up the card's value. HmphI didn't really want to organize my car anyway.

Give Away Rules:
1. You must live on the United States' East Coast or in Texas.
2. Leave a comment with your name and email/contact info.
3. Winner will be chosen using

Extra Entries given to those who share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media site. You must come back and leave a separate comment for each time you share. 

And one more thing...the deadline will be next Thursday. I will announce the winner on Friday, December 9, 2011.
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