About a year ago, my 9-year-old daughter caught sight of a big rig driver chatting away on his hand-held device. “Mum, Mum! He’s on his cell phone!” she cried out from the backseat, utterly horrified at his behavior. Before I could respond, “Mum, Mum! He hung up his phone and gave me the thumbs up!” she squealed triumphantly.
She’d decided to take matters into her own small hands. When he glanced down into our car with phone in hand, that driver was greeted with the sweet face of a young girl gesturing with her hand mimicking a phone and a smile clearly indicating that he should hang up his phone.
If I could, I would track down that driver and thank him personally for responding in such a positive manner. His choice was to put down the phone and–contrary to what most of us might experience when attempting a similar educational hand gesture–gave her the thumbs up with a kindly smile. Thank you kindly truck driver!
Not to be outdone by his big sister, a couple of weeks back our 6-year-old son used a different hand gesture to persuade a texting driver to drop their phone.
While sitting at a red light I asked my kids what they thought the young driver behind us was doing. Witnessing the telltale eyes darting up and down from his hands clearly in his lap, my kids cried out in unison, “Mum, Mum!” He’s TEXTING!!!”
So, taking the opportunity to teach (as most parents like to do), I explained that his behavior was one of the reasons I need to pay extra attention when at a light. Not only to ensure that ahead of me is clear, but that what or who coming up behind me is paying enough attention to stop.
Reflected in the rear view mirror I saw my son smile and twist slightly in his seat to deliver an impressive royal wave (no doubt coupled with his irresistible dimply smile) to the young man the next time he glanced up from his device. I should mention that there is a ‘Don’t Text and Drive’ decal in our back window, which with its low position to avoid being an obstruction to my visibility, would have been clearly visible below my son’s smiling wave.
In spite of his poor choice to text while driving, he somewhat redeemed himself when I saw him quickly drop his device on his passenger seat, slap both hands at 10 and 2 briefly lifting one hand in a salute partnered with a sheepish grin.
I have such appreciation for another driver making the right choice to not only drop his phone, but to also support my kids’ efforts to advocate for road safety.
So, the moral of the story…it’s never too early to take action to make a difference. Whether you’re the cute kid delivering an important road safety message, or you’re the driver on the receiving end…it all comes down to your choice to do the right thing.
Check out some of these cool kid posters on road safety & distracted driving prevention: Kids Poster Contest