No matter how many times I read the statistics about the dangers of distracted driving, no matter how many public service announcements I see and hear, I still occasionally am guilty of texting, status-updating, Tweeting and Instagramming behind the wheel of my moving vehicle.
It doesn’t happen often. And it rarely, if ever, happens at home. On the road, however, especially when I’m traveling with my family for work, sometimes I realize I’m that guy who’s staring into his phone with kids in the back seat.
And that’s never, ever OK.
This is precisely why I have embraced a new campaign out of Colorado to get parents to stop distracted driving once and for all. The program, dubbed “Red Thumb Reminder,” is the brainchild of an advertising executive at San Francisco-based Evolution Bureau. The premise is simple: Paint your thumbnail red so every time you pick up your phone while driving, all you see is a big red sign reminding you to STOP.
Steve Babcock, the man behind the campaign says on the program website that he was inspired by his daughter’s technique of tying a piece of yarn around her finger to remember something for school.
Whatever the inspiration, it works.
Maybe it’s the flash of red. Maybe it’s the notion of utilizing a slightly heavier thumb. Maybe it’s all in my head, I don’t know. The bottom line is that during the few hours I’ve spent with a red thumb on the wheel of my truck, I haven’t even had the URGE to pick up my Smartphone.
This campaign is great news for family travelers. Safety is the No. 1 issue on a road trip, and being mindful of avoiding distracted driving will keep us safer. Furthermore, the more we embrace this idea, the more we discuss the dangers of distracted driving with our kids, the more careful (we can hope) they will be when it’s their turn to get behind the wheel later in life.
Another benefit: The less distracted we are when we drive, the more focused we can be on the experience of the journey itself. From a family travel perspective, this is almost as important as being safe. Both are gifts worth protecting at all costs.