Why I always say "I love you" before I drive

May 2, 2016

Unless you are in the Marines Special Forces or run a Nuclear Power Plant, driving is probably the most dangerous thing you do every day. It's certainly the most dangerous thing I do every day. According to the CDC, 33,804 unintentional deaths were caused by car crashes in 2013. The chances that you or your child could die in your car are almost 2 in 10,000. Yet, it's something we do every day with our children, most days multiple times a day. Sometimes we get in and out of the car so often that it feels like it's all we do. So it's easy to get complacent. It's easy to forget. It's easy to get so wrapped up in getting things done and getting where we are going that we stop being careful; we forget that we are carrying the world's most precious cargo: ourselves and our children.


So every time I put my son in a car that I am going to drive, the last thing I do before closing the door to get in the driver's seat is kiss him, look in his eyes and tell him I love him.


This does a few things for me.


1. It gives me peace of mind that if something unavoidable does happen and one or both of us are not around anymore that neither of us is unsure that he knows I love him.


2. Especially on the days when just getting out the door at all, much less on time, has been a frustrating battle of wills, it reminds me that I need to take a minute and calm down. This helps me avoid driving while angry, which can be as bad as driving while intoxicated and often leads to road rage of one degree or another.


3. It reminds me that I have very special cargo. That way I slow down, drive more carefully and adopt the attitude that it is indeed better to arrive late than never arrive at all.


4. It helps me remember to always double check his car seat and straps, loose objects, and anything else that could cause unnecessary injury if we had an accident.


What are your travel rituals? Do you have anything special you do to get more centered, be safer, etc?

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