Yesterday I saw someone swerving on the road and thought they were drunk. I got up next to them and it was a young girl on her cell phone. She almost sideswiped me and I almost honked my horn to jolt her. Going to work, I keep seeing a young girl (20’s) in a gray Ford Focus with a pink cell phone that looks bedazzled, driving erratic because she can’t put the phone down. Well the cigarette doesn’t help either.
When have we become so dependent on our cell phones that we can’t wait until we get where we are going or pull over to take a call? I don’t answer my phone when I’m driving unless it’s my daughter or husband and then I tell them to talk fast or I put them on speaker phone so I’m hands free. Several times I’ve pulled off the road so I could concentrate on the call.
I used to take calls all the time will driving or called friends when driving home from work so I wouldn’t be bored. Then I realized I’m not a very good driver when talking on the phone. I’m not even comfortable changing the station on the radio. I usually don’t look at the radio, I just feel for the buttons, because if I look, I’m usually heading to a different lane when I look back up. Usually I stick in a CD and forget about it.
Last fall there was an accident during the evening rush hour traffic. I remember sitting in the traffic wondering why it was stopped. Someone crossed the median and struck several cars. One of those cars was a friend of ours. He was on his cell phone at the time and since then he refuses to drive and be on the phone.
There are lots of states working on legislature to fine people when using their cell phones while driving even when stopped at a light. I send text messages when I’m at a complete stop or when I have reached my destination. If my daughter is in the car I have her read me the text and have her respond to the message. My IT guy says he sends texts all the time while driving because he conducts business while driving. I still think nothing can be that urgent it can’t wait until you get to the destination to respond.
If there is going to be legislature against cell phones, then I think there needs to be legislature against other things while driving or maybe part of having a license is you have to sit in a simulator and see how well your reflexes are while on the cell phone and driving. I was going to a meeting once with a co-worker and she insisted on driving. Then she proceeded to drive with her knee while putting on make-up (yes, I’m talking about you Heather). Had I known she was going to need to put on make-up, I would have insisted on driving.
Another time I was carpooling with a co-worker. While driving down the interstate at 70 she proceeded to take out her contacts instead of waiting until we arrived at my house. Took the first one out while going around a curve, put on her glasses and then took the other one. I was talking at the time and I don’t think she noticed I paused in mid-sentence, I was in so much shock.
Then there was another co-worker I was carpooling with at a different job where it was his turn to drive. Wait for it…he ate cereal out of a bowl with a spoon and it had milk. Yes, he was driving! Again, I was speechless. I think that was the last time I rode with him, I felt so unsafe!
The co-worker who took her contacts out has also been known to finish a book while driving. Not an audio book but a PAPERBACK. I also know people who read their mail, answer mail while driving and I’ve heard some business men used to have their cars equipped with fax machines. For the younger readers, it’s where you put a paper through a machine and the paper pops out at a different location through the phone lines.
When did it become okay to be in a several ton vehicle and put other people in danger? It’s just like driving drunk or on drugs.
I know seeing distracted drivers and my carpool cohorts; I’m a little more cautious and more aware of how I drive.
Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat.