Some time gaps need to be expanded, not closed

Only a few Dallas drivers follow at a two-second stopping distance. Maybe this is why I crawl past two and three accidents every day on my way to work.

Generally, my blog is about designing business-to-business (B2B) marketing that shortens the customer journey. This takes focus and mental energy. Accident-related traffic erodes mental energy. Today at Toastmasters, I raised the issues of following too closely and distracted driving.

My assignment from the competent communication manual was Speech 2: Organize Your Speech. Below is the transcript.

Speech: While Driving, Keep Distance

Thank you for that warm introduction, Mr. Toastmaster.

Good morning! Last week, I left my house at 6:15am to drive to our meeting. Five minutes into my drive, brake lights lit up all around me.

A firetruck was blocking the fast lane on the 30. Ambulance and police lights flashed. There was a car wreck. I got onto the 635 freeway. Five minutes on the 635 freeway and the scene repeated itself. I passed the second accident. As I was taking the off-ramp, I found myself admiring a dark green, sleek Jaguar – as it cut me off.

I pulled into the parking lot here at Denny’s and breathed a sigh of relief. This story happened last Wednesday, but it happens every day in Dallas.

That is why I am going to share my three tips to make you 50% safer on the streets of Dallas.

Tip 1. Admit we’re bad drivers in Dallas

When I moved to Dallas from San Diego in 2015, one of the first things I noticed was how crazy the driving culture is here.

Did you know that for the last 16 years, there has been a fatal accident in Texas every single day?

Last year, a car insurance study found that Texas came in at #1 in their Worst Drivers in the nation study – a tie with Louisiana. That would make a good slogan for Travel Texas advertising, “Texas. We are no worse than Louisiana.”

To give you a sense of how far back this goes, the first search result when I Googled why are Dallas drivers so bad was a D Magazine article titled, “What’s Wrong With Dallas Drivers.” It is from 1987.

There is all this data about how Texas drivers are unsafe. We’re passing all these ambulances and firetrucks two and three times a day. Yet, no one is doing anything about it.

People are in denial. My first tip is to admit that we have a problem with our driving culture. Then we can start to fix it.

Tip 2. Put a bumper sticker on your car

Based on what you have heard so far –

Can you imagine the look on my face when I glance into rearview mirror and see a Ford F150 attached to my car? Not smiling. Who else here hates to be tailgated?

Pull out this bumper sticker.

My second safety tip is to put this bumper sticker on your car. I put this on my car last Thursday, and so far, nobody has tailgated me.

It’s a $4 bumper sticker that I bought on Amazon. The winner of today’s table topics will take home this one home today.

The national Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that nearly 25% of accidents are rear end collisions. What is the leading cause of rear end collisions? That’s right – not keeping enough distance. Putting this bumper sticker on your car can make your drive 25% safer.

I promised to make you 50% safer. My next tip will take you the rest of the way there.

Tip 3. Send a letter to Austin to ban distracted driving

The National Safety Council found in 2014 that nearly 25% of accidents involve a cellphone.

Two weeks ago, in Austin, the House of Representatives passed a statewide ban on distracted driving. The measure passed 133-32. Now, it must pass in the State Senate and the Governor must sign it.

Representative Tom Craddick is the bill’s sponsor. The last time he tried to pass it in 2015, the bill failed in the Senate. Before that, it passed both chambers but Rick Perry vetoed it in 2011.

Only 4 states do not have a texting ban. Texas is one of them.

I urge you to write a letter to Austin and express your support for the distracted driving bill that will be going through the Senate and the Governor. Using this link, you can input your zip code to find your State Senator.

By banning distracted driving, you reduce a risk factor present in 25% of accidents. Combined with the first two tips, this can make Texas roads 50% safer.

To recap the tips you just heard:

  1. Admit the driving culture in Dallas needs improvement
  2. Put this KEEP DISTANCE bumper sticker on your car.
  3. Write a letter to Austin to pass the distracted driving ban.

These actions will make our roads 50% safer. Consider doing them – not just for you – but for your kids, grandkids, friends and colleagues. And consider doing it for me.

Safer drivers on the road would make me 50% less grumpy after my long commute to Toastmasters every Wednesday at 7am. Coffee already takes care of the other 50%.

Remember, the winner of today’s table topics discussion will take home this Keep Distance Bumper Sticker. I look forward to hearing your speeches. With that, I will turn it over to you, Mr. Toastmaster–

Shake Toastmaster’s hand at the podium. Exit.

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