This morning as I was driving to work, I saw a man texting and driving. I was in one lane, and just happened to glance at the car beside me in the next lane, and he had one hand on the steering wheel, but his other hand was down and he was looking in his lap, as he was driving forward. So, obviously, he was texting. Now, sure, in this case, it was a rather long road, it was awhile before we got to the next stop light, and there were no other cars in front of or behind us, but that was still dangerous. You need to keep your eyes on the road. Be careful. Things can go wrong in a split second.
Like, for example, the accident that happened right in front of me back in January, that all happened in the blink of eye. One driver made a bad turn, and three cars were hit, just like that. And for myself, I think of how many times I’ve had to quickly hit the brakes or slow down because some driver cut in front of me, or slowed down unexpectedly to make a turn, or a cat or dog ran into the road, or if I noticed there’s some glass or something ahead of me that I want to avoid. If I didn’t always pay close attention to where I’m going I could have been in multiple accidents by now (assuming I’d survived them all) Driving is serious business, people.
And, of course, even more than texting, I still see people on the phone while driving all the time, even though that’s illegal in my state. Now, I’m not going to deny that I’ve done it multiple times over the years, and it’s not quite as bad as texting since you can still keep your eyes on the road while you’re holding the phone to your ear. And I often drive with one hand anyway. But, that being said, some folks are too reckless. Last Friday, on my way home, I was behind a woman in a minivan, and she was on the phone, and as we both turned onto a freeway I could see her clearly, and I wanting to shout to her, “hang up the phone now, you’re getting on the freeway!” This was rush hour, with lots of cars all going at very high speeds, you should not be on the phone!
Speaking of cell-phones, I also happened to stop st 2 different grocery stores, first Albertsons (to get my favorite microwave burritos, which Ralphs stopped selling, for some reason) and then Ralphs (to get some junk food for snacks, which they have one sale). Both times as I got to the checkout line there was a woman in front of me and each woman was talking on her phone during the whole checkout process. As I left the 2nd store, I could see the 2nd woman still talking while loading her groceries into her car. I couldn’t help think, dang, you can’t get off the phone for a few minutes? Tell the person, hey, I’m at the grocery store, I’ll call you back when I’m done.
But that speaks to a larger issue that I’ve often thought about. All of these changes and advances in technology have, in many ways, made our lives easier, and more convenient, but sometimes I think it’s also made us too dependent. I still remember the days before mobile phones and devices. If you wanted to call someone, you had to wait until you were home, or at work. Heck, I remember when checking your email was something you can only do when sitting in front of a PC at home or work. Now we can be contacted, and contact people, anytime, anywhere. That certainly has its advantages, but it’s almost like we’re becoming afraid to disconnect, even for a little while. The phone rings, you must answer it NOW, get a text or email and you must answer it NOW. Doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, if you’re in a grocery store, at a bar, or driving a vehicle in a busy street, answer that phone!
According to statistics, 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured EVERY DAY, because of “distracted” drivers. Thank about that next time you’re getting ready to send a text while you’re behind the wheel. Is whatever you’re going to say worth risking you’re life for? To paraphrase The Jackson Five, Stop, the life you save may be your own.