Those little stick-figure families plastered to the back windshields of SUVs and minivans annoy me. Who cares if you have three kids who enjoy wearing Mickey Mouse ears, two dogs and a cat? Not me. From what I gather, I’m not alone on this.
During a recent lunch outing with a co-worker, I pointed out and poked fun at a stick-figure family on a passing vehicle. My colleague and I had a good laugh — until I told her that I think the “baby on board” signs actually do serve a purpose, although I do not have one.
They’re pretty much the exact same thing, my lunch partner told me. She questioned how I could be annoyed by one but fine with the other.
It’s simple, I said. The sign signifies to other drivers that I’m driving cautiously because I have an infant in the car with me, and I hope other motorists will extend me a bit of courtesy. No, my friend told me, other drivers are going to cut you off and pull out in front of you no matter what; they don’t care what or who you have in the car.
Well, I reasoned, at least they’ll know why I’m not zooming around at the speed of light or weaving in and out of traffic. Those I share the road with will know I have someone else’s safety to think about, and nothing is more important to me than protecting my 8-month-old daughter.
Again, my co-worker chuckled at my logic. The stick-figure families are basically doing the same thing, she insisted. They’re letting others know, “Hey, I’m living for others, too. I have a husband, three kids, two dogs and a cat to take care of, so use caution when operating that motor vehicle around me!”
Hmm, OK. Good point well made. And the more I thought about it, shouldn’t we all value our own lives enough to drive cautiously while extending courtesy to other motorists? We don’t really need stickers or signs to remind each other that people are important and safety should always be at the forefront of our minds — on and off the road. Now that I have a beautiful baby girl who is depending on me, perhaps I should worry a little about my own safety in addition to hers.
Now that’s not to say we should all rush out and buy “People on board” stickers. I think it’s pretty clear someone is operating the vehicle. But the next time you’re about to cut off a slowpoke driver or impatiently pull out in front of someone, think twice. Is it really worth the risk when you — and the other driver — have so much at stake?
Hollie Moore Barnidge is the managing editor of the Coastal Courier in Hinesville.