Thursday, April 21, 2016

GUEST POST: My Daughter's Drive Through Dallas

Thanks so much Donna Fitzgerald for sharing this post about her's daughter's scary experience driving through Dallas.

Recently, my oldest daughter went on a college tour in Dallas. If it were up to me, she’d decide to study here, at Baylor, but we have to let our children have their own adventures some time. As a family, we’ve been to Dallas numerous times, but my daughter has never driven through Dallas on her own. When she was starting to plan her trip, I insisted that I accompany her, but after much deliberation, she had convinced me that traveling with 3 of her “very responsible” friends would be just as safe (it was only for a weekend and they were staying with a relative in the Dallas-Fort Worth area).

Before the girls left on a Friday morning, we mapped out their trip and checked out TxDOT’s Traffic Map and I encouraged them to pull over and look at it before they reached Dallas, so they knew what kind of delays to expect. I reminded my daughter that the traffic can be very congested and is nothing like the “gridlock” we experience, here, in Waco.

A few hours later, my daughter texted me, told me that they arrived, and said she’d call later. That evening, my daughter called, her voice sounded tired and quiet, not like that of an almost high school graduate scoping out prospects for her exciting future. “Mom, it was awful,” she said, surprisingly without her typical dramatic flair.

“What was awful? Which college?”
“No, Mom, the drive. It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.”
“I thought Amber drove through Dallas. She said she’s done it before.”
“She did...and it was terrible.”

She proceeded to explain that her friend, Amber, who had driven through Dallas many times ended up texting and driving through most of I-35 East, during a very congested time of day. When my daughter and their other friends asked her to stop, Amber snapped and said that it was legal and she had her license for over a year (so it was fine). My daughter continued to tell me that many of the drivers were either texting, talking on their phones, or doing something else while driving. “Mom, one guy was shaving his face and eating a hamburger at the same time. I don’t even know how he managed to stay in between the lanes, let alone merge in front of us.”

I was ready to tell my daughter that “Sadly, that’s the way it is” because traffic congestion in Texas has been a problem forever, but then I realized why she was so upset. My daughter is a good driver. She’s responsible. She’s never been in an accident, has never been given a citation, and has never even been tempted to text and drive (even though it’s still legal in Waco). I attribute some of her responsibility to our own good driving habits, but even as a young child, she had caught me looking at myself in the visor mirror and she told me to get my eyes back on the road.

These days, when young drivers are some of the road’s most riskiest motorists, I know how lucky we are to have such a responsible driver in our family. After I encouraged her to drive on the return trip, we laughed about the man who was shaving and eating. When I asked her if she had made any decisions about college, she replied, “I can always ride my bike to Baylor.”

Pictures by Pixabay