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Screw the “Baby on Board” sign: Road rage, distracted driving, and why every day is Carmageddon in LA

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Reel Mama: Screw the “Baby on Board” sign: Road rage, distracted driving, and why every day is Carmageddon in LA

Friday, July 15, 2011

Screw the “Baby on Board” sign: Road rage, distracted driving, and why every day is Carmageddon in LA

I purchased and stuck the little “Baby on Board” sign to my back window believing that if other drivers saw it, they would drive more carefully or respectfully around me.  In fact, I’ve found the opposite to be true, and I now believe that the very sight of the sign enrages some of my fellow drivers.  Maybe I’m more sensitive now that I have a baby in the car, but I honestly believe that the sign provokes unfounded aggression in a select mad-as-hell few, as if the angry driver is telling me, “You think you’re special because you have a baby on board?  I’ll show you!  You’re not better than me!”  And then the angry driver proceeds to speed up and pass me on the right as I’m attempting to exit the freeway.  One night last week I was almost blindsided by a car that ignored its own yield sign and sped up to overtake me in my own lane.  I had to swerve into the next lane to avoid getting blindsided.  Luckily there was no oncoming traffic.  What terrifies me the most is that Leilani was in the car with me. What if it had been a different time of day?  We could have been killed.  I placed the sign out of a genuine concern for the safety of my precious cargo while on the road, a concern that has proved to be very well-founded.

The worst was earlier this year, when I had to stop suddenly thanks to the proliferation of cameras at intersections.  Fearing an almost $600 ticket, I stopped short as the light changed from yellow to red.  Though I hated doing it, I had to make a split-second decision.  The driver behind me managed to stop in time.  I glanced in my rearview mirror.  Behind me was a Baby Boomer, Caucasian, driving an olive green BMW convertible. And then, I felt an incredible jolt out of nowhere.  We’d been hit from behind.  Despite the “Baby on Board” sign in plain sight, the man had rear-ended me.  Hard.  I looked behind me to see him pulling into right lane next to us and screeching onto a side street, with one busted headlight dangling from its socket like a kid’s tooth ready to be pulled.  Luckily Leilani was fine.  The car seat had done it’s job, and I was only shaken up.

What kind of person purposely slams into a car with a sign announcing to the world that there’s a baby inside?  What has happened to common courtesy, respect, and human decency on the road? Fellow drivers, why can’t we all just get along?

Which brings me to distracted driving, and a lot of parents are guilty of this.  It’s hard not to be distracted when you have kids in the car, but I once saw a mom on the 405 in an SUV with kids inside and a newspaper draped over the steering wheel.  Yes, we were on the so-called parking lot (LA’s nickname for the 405), but traffic was still moving, if only inch-by-inch.  And now, to add to the distracted driving, there’s now an infomercial being aired for a Japanese massaging pad, and it’s being suggested to use it while driving.  So in addition to cooling her latte, scarfing the breakfast burrito, texting her Facebook friend from high school, tweezing her brows, removing her hot rollers, and disciplining her kids, today’s ultimate distracted driver is supposed to cruise around town with a back massager. Oh well, at least you can save a trip to the chiropractor.    

Today unprecedented gridlock begins on the 405, but every time I pass a car flipped over on a freeway in LA, to me that’s Carmageddon, and it happens all the time.  I wish we could make driving safer, and protect the precious lives of the little ones, not to mention the grownups, inside our cars. 


At January 1, 2012 at 9:43 AM , Blogger MommyRehab said...

I love this post! It is so true! I feel like i am in carmageddon every time I drive! I'm Stopping by the MBS Alexa Blog Hop. Just left you a review :)

At January 2, 2012 at 10:34 PM , Blogger Lauren Ivy Chiong said...

Thanks so much for the comment, Sara, and thanks for stopping by! I enjoyed checking out your blog too! I think a lot of people can relate to this. I felt like the real Carmageddon really hit us this holiday season. There wasn't a parking space available anywhere in greater LA.

Safe travels wherever your wheels may need to take you!


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