So, it isn’t really texting if you are just reading a text…while driving, right? I confess I’ve been pulled to my cell to take a peek at the incoming message while I’m behind the wheel. Or I’m sitting at a red light. There’s time, isn’t there, to check the screen and see who it is, at least? Yet, with the upcoming publication of my next novel Hit, I’ve been struck by how even checking a text is dangerous behind the wheel.
As I did research for the launch of my book, I bumped against #redthumbreminder. Steve Babcock’s simple, yet innovative solution to text safety is awesome. Embraced across the country, men and women are painting one thumbnail red to remind themselves not to text while driving. It worked for Steve, and he was able to break the habit. It can certainly work for you and me.
In Hit, Haddings isn’t texting when he takes his eyes off the road. He’s only reading a text—ironically from his mother, he finds out. That simple look away from the street, the letting go of the wheel to pocket the phone results in a life-changing accident for him and Sarah, his victim. Inspired by a true story of my daughter’s best friend being struck in a crosswalk on the way to school, Hit rolls out what might happen in the blink of an eye, in the timing of one checked text.
But what about that red light look? Certainly that’s safe. We aren’t even moving. Yet, how often do we read our phone, get drawn in, and think we can tap the text through before the light changes? But the light always changes, and we’re texting and driving before we realize it.
As school is in full swing, and the roads are full of kids and teens returning to campuses across the country, let’s commit to not texting and driving. You and I. We won’t even read those incoming texts, while driving or sitting at red lights. Whoever is texting us can wait. They can wait until we arrive safely.
So, grab a red bottle of nail polish and remind yourself of your decision. And when friends ask, “Hey, why the red thumb?” Tell them about #redthumbreminder and how you’ve broken the habit and maybe avoided a near hit.
by Lorie Ann Grover
Blink YA Books, October, 2014