Sometimes I feel like my car is my second home and at this time of year we find ourselves criss-crossing the province to attend family dinners and events. We put on more kilometres in the holiday season than many people we know put on in an entire year.
My vehicle is like a small apartment where I eat, visit and even sleep. I have no problem pulling over when my eyes get tired. I sleep in restaurant and gas station parking lots and even on the side of the highway where there is space. As a teenager who wasn't as smart I found myself getting tired, my head bobbed and my car skimmed the ditch filling the wheel wells with long grass. I wasn't going very fast, I was on a quiet road, I was very lucky and I won't let it ever happen again.
There is no timeline so important that I can't spend a silent 15 minutes by the side of the road and I do it often. I won't drive on bad roads either and last week I was once again inconvenienced by an icy road and didn't get to go where I wanted to.
I live in a small town and so rely on the ability to quickly and safely travel to where I can find the people and things not available in my neighbourhood, but I realize life is too valuable to take risks.
Over the last few years the Maidstone SADD chapter has changed its focus from just discouraging drinking and driving to include all distractions. They realized texting, talking, putting on makeup, eating and being tired were all dangerous distractions. They still preach the message of sober driving, but know being a safe driver is so much more.
Recently, personal breathalyzers have become popular and people believe they can still drink and drive if they know their blood alcohol content. Throughout the world there are different amounts of blood alcohol acceptable and I know first hand I've seen the same amount of alcohol affect similarly sized people very differently.
I don't think it should be a matter of how much you can get away with but a case of making the smartest choices. There are so many people who love me and want me to be safe I don't want to take even the slightest risk.
Every year too many people die on the road and the holiday season is a painful reminder when there are empty seats at the table and fewer gifts under the tree.
Being on the road is important for me but nothing is more important than being here for my family and breathing in the air of a new day.