It Can Wait...It Really Can

A few days ago, Laurel asked me if driving is hard. I told her that the pure mechanics of learning to turn the wheel and operate the pedals are not hard -- that the hard part is the defensive nature of driving given that someone else could impact your day and your life because they’re distracted. Case in point: during the summer I was driving Laurel and a friend home from camp and we were stopped at a stoplight and got rear ended. I leaped out of my car and barked at the woman “WERE YOU ON YOUR PHONE?” She said she was not (she was distracted by something else), but it was a clear example of how you can literally be sitting still and things can happen to you.

Personally, I do an OK but not 100% clean job when it comes to distracted driving. I don’t text and drive. I leave my phone on mute almost all the time because the constant alerts make me (and everyone around me) crazy. However, I do occasionally check my phone if I’m at a long stop light, and if I’m going somewhere unknown, sometimes I’ll hold the phone while the map is running so I can just refer to it in my periphery. But I want to zero out these two behaviors. They’re just not necessary. I’ll admit that I get furious when I see people cruising around at full speed with their face down in their phone (which I see a lot since Violet and I walk to school) but the reality is, I’m also driving with a level of distraction that just isn't necessary.

The AT&T It Can Wait 21-Day Challenge

Not surprisingly, I responded positively when AT&T reached out to invite me to participate in and share about their It Can Wait 21-Day Challenge to curb distracted driving. Obviously, the topic resonates, and I’ve been an AT&T customer literally for forever (since Jon and my first phone...which was so novel that we SHARED IT). I also believe in the power of challenges and positive behavior change and the AT&T It Can Wait 21-Day Challenge is important and simple. All you need to do is take the pledge to stop driving distracted (and commit to making it happen, obviously). It Can Wait wants to reach 16 million pledges by the end of 2016. I just took the pledge and am starting the 21-Day Challenge TODAY. And I want you to join me!

Here’s a clip about the campaign:

Let’s Do This Thing!

Here’s the thing about taking a pledge and sharing about it: it’s effective and social media makes it easy! Recent It Can Wait research has shown that almost half of people who pledged said they now don’t use their smartphones while driving and that those who share their promise or pledge with others are even more likely to stop, and more likely to speak up to others (e.g., asking a friend or family member to not use their smartphone while driving). Personally, public social media challenges have enhanced my life in 3 major ways to date: 1) an informal Jillian Michaels challenge with friends helped me get back into shape postpartum, 2) a Couch To 5K challenge with friends turned me into a runner, and 3) a photo a day challenge helped me improve my photography enormously. So cool right? LET’S DO THIS THING TOGETHER and kick the distracted driving habit. All you need to do is:

1. Take the pledge! (If you share your progress on social using #ItCanWait, you could win prizes! Yay, prizes!)

2. Act on the pledge in whatever way helps you make it stick! If you need help, download the free AT&T DriveMode App to curb your habit. Or turn your phone off/put it on mute. Personally, I’m going to either: 1) stow my phone out of reach while I drive, 2) study directions in advance or just rely on audio (so, enable GPS but put the phone out of reach), or 3) leave the house without my phone if it’s not necessary!

Please join me and take the pledge -- I can’t wait to hear about your progress. Share using #ItCanWait on social and feel free to tag me at @bostonmamas on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook.

Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with AT&T. All thoughts and storytelling about distracted driving (unless credited to the It Can Wait program) are, of course, my own.