Friday, July 28, 2017

The Road Less Traveled

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Navdy and DadNCharge for which I was compensated. All opinions expressed are my own.

I was standing in the rental car building waiting for directions from our fearless leader. I was about to take six kids I really didn't know that well on a six-hour car ride from Denver, Colorado to Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and the van didn't have a DVD player.

We loaded up the luggage, unceremoniously stuffing the backseat with rollaways and duffle bags with wheels like a grown-up's game of Tetris, trying to ensure that I would at least have a foot of clearance to see out of the back window. We did the same with their bodies, taking every available inkling of legroom and headroom the van would allow.

We had five vans full of leaders and high school students following each other via highways and side country roads that no one had ever heard of to arrive at our destination. In my van, I had a front seat passenger who was supposed to be my navigator, but an hour into the trip, she succumbed to the smooth sounds of the pavement rushing past us and fell into a deep sleep.

At six foot six, I marvelled at her ability to curl up into a ball in what I thought might be the most uncomfortable Philly pretzel I had ever seen. I was amazed at the rest of the passengers' willingness to fall where they may, with heads pitched forward or sometimes against the interior window of the car, mouths agape, drool dampening pillows they brought with them. Suddenly, I was quite alone with my thoughts.

As rowdy as teenagers are supposed to be, they sure do sleep a lot. So there I was in a car with nothing but the radio and my cellphone, following the GPS to our destination. The cars did not have in-dash navigation, so I had to rely on my phone, sitting in the cupholder for directions. Boy, I missed my Navdy. Why didn't I bring it with me?

I could have easily taken it from my home minivan and installed it in seconds on the rental car's dash. I thought about that every time I had to look down at my phone for directions while keeping an eye on the road. I did have some printed out maps just in case GPS failed me but I wasn't about to try and pry them out of the manila folder I had carelessly placed between the console and the front seats. So much for my human front seat navigator!

I kept my eyes on the caravan in front of me instead and furtively glanced at my phone from time to time, but the distractions were always present. The most difficult distraction was that we had a group text happening around bathroom breaks and GPS alterations to the original route. With my Navdy, its head up display would have projected my texts right in my line of sight, so I could stay focused on driving. Navdy eliminates the need to by setting up Glances to rely on someone else to keep checking my phone and read my messages - which is quite impossible when they are asleep.

We travelled through Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and eventually reached the border of South Dakota. We miraculously discovered a gas station in Nebraska as the teens bravely held in any liquids despite the rolling Nebraska hills and abundant cows. Sour gummies make you super thirsty and our gas tanks were getting low.

My advice when you pass a gas station in Nebraska: ALWAYS STOP, because the next one may be in the next state. We did manage to find one rest area in Nebraska, but the Wi-Fi was spotty and they only had one restroom. However, they did have a great area for relaxing from the rigors of the road.

Directions through the west are much different than the east. The kids started playing a game of That's My Cow, and we wondered if we should change it to That's My Human because we stopped seeing them for many miles.

Instead, I kept thinking to myself, "How did people who moved out to the west survive the terrain?" and then I remembered The Oregon Trail and it all made sense. Driving a horse and wagon across the plains with mountains in the distance never seeming to get any closer must have been difficult to process.

Today, we are lucky enough to have the convenience of navigation and GPS, but there is still an ever-increasing amount of distractions that can make driving just as hazardous as driving as travel by horse and wagon. Americans are spending an average of 45 billion hours driving per year, and one way to make this time safer is finding a better way to integrate the use of our phones while on the road. This is where Navdy can step in and make travelling in the car so much easier, as well as safer.

Imagine the applications during travel with the family or if you have a teen driver in the family who is easily distracted by his phone. With simple gestures, drivers control their phone's functions from the Navdy display while keep their eyes on the road. Access texts, app notification, receive a phone call, or play music by moving your hand or using the steering wheel mounted dial.  Keeping our kids safe while travelling in automobiles is a top priority, especially when the call for technology connectedness is so strong. Navdy is available for $499 or $28/month for 18 months at 0% financing.

The investment in our family's safety is well worth it with the piece of mind that Navdy provides by insuring your drivers will be paying attention to the road instead of on their phones. And when you finally get there, that's when you can take it all in, and safely use your phone to share with the world where you have been and where you are going next.

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