I am enamored of the idea of having a checklist for any possible situation, mostly because they usually reinforce my belief that I have all bases covered. I need to maintain my delusions of grandeur. It occurred to me, finally, that if I made the lists, that reassuring complacency that I feel after checking everything off would always be mine. It’s such a relief that I no longer have to live up to anyone else’s standards.

Safe Driver Checklist

  1. In order to avoid distracted driving, sedate any children with whom you will be travelling. If you’re fortunate, you’ll have a Schedule III narcotic prescription available to you. Speak with your pediatrician about the best choice.
  2. Don crash helmet. In addition to protecting your head, the helmet sends a message to other motorists: you will not be intimidated.
  3. To further reinforce the anti-intimidation message, fly a flag from your windows. Consider your options carefully here. The Jolly Roger: good. Kittens with big eyes: bad. Cuddly is not the image you want to project.
  4. Place coffee in spill-proof, leak-proof travel mug. Ensure that mug is in vehicle, not on top of vehicle before driving. (Ditto for very expensive prescription sunglasses.)
  5. Dogs=not good passengers. That goes double, no, triple, for cats. Eject all non-humans from vehicle. Especially spiders. They are the very worst passengers.
  6. Do not eat soup or chili while driving.
  7. On the off-chance that your pediatrician refuses to sedate the children, you need to prepare by completing the following: have audiobook ready, pack snacks that they can reach, open and eat without your assistance. Consider earplugs.
  8. Remove child’s car seat, shake upside down for approximately seven and a half minutes or until no more crumbs fall from it. Replace seat and secure child in seat according to manufacturer instructions.
  9. Repeat number eight for each child.
  10. Do not swear at other drivers, even if they are very bad drivers, or, as my son once said, “Nassholes. Right, Mom? They’re Nassholes.”