Essays, Poetry, Observations, Etc.

Texting while Driving. Don’t.

In Random Rant on June 18, 2012 at 11:50 am

It used to be that if I wanted to go somewhere with someone, I could easily arrange a ride with them. I could sit back and not have to worry about how I got someplace, where I was going to park, etc. I didn’t mind helping with gas or parking, or even helping with directions. And it was good for the environment! A win all the way around.

These days, I am often offered a ride, which, over half the time now, I decline. Why? Fear.

The other day a friend offered me a ride to go with them to a church on the other side of town. She is a reasonable sort and generally appears to have safe driving habits. (And no dings in her cars body work, an important clue!)

So, I went by the church, met up with her and discovered that another friend was actually going to do the driving. Didn’t know a thing about her driving habits. And this time I wasn’t just nervous for myself, my daughter was along for the ride. Now I am willing to accept a certain amount of risk for myself, but extending that to my daughter is another thing entirely. But I didn’t wish to appear ungrateful or paranoid, so we graciously entered the vehicle and set out.

We were cruising along on the freeway when the driver’s cell phone went off. After some fumbling, she found and answered it. While this is going on, the SUV starts to bob back and forth, weaving abruptly within the lane. I’m sitting in the backseat getting a little anxious. Eventually she gets off the phone and I find some relief as the vehicle straightens out and starts driving more solidly.

Then she gets the text, asking her if she’s on her way. She starts to respond herself, but I gently suggest that someone else enter the message. She hands it to her friend in the passenger seat who proceeds to be utterly clueless as to how to use this particular phone. The driver starts to explain her shortcuts, such as typing in OMY to produce the result, on my way. For a moment I thought she was going to take the phone back. Meanwhile the car is starting to weave again. I suggested that they hand the phone to my daughter, who is a texting professional. My daughter got the phone and almost immediately handed it back. While my daughter was handing it back, the driver started to explain her texting shortcut again. My daughter responded by saying, she didn’t bother with the shortcut, she just typed the message in, and sent it. The driver was amazed at the speed with which my daughter could do this on a strange phone. I was just amused. After all, my daughter sends more texts in the day than I send in a year!

But I digress.

Texting and driving don’t mix. Drinking and driving don’t mix. Eating and driving don’t mix. Trying to discipline your kids while you’re driving doesn’t work either. Any distraction while driving is dangerous. And not just for the driver, but for everyone around them, passengers and other drivers, too.

Pretending that you’re better at it and/or more capable of doing it than anyone else is self-centered and dangerous to others.

Killing yourself is one thing, although your immediate family will probably suffer the most.

Killing others in the process of your narcissistic activity is just plain criminal.

Concentrate on the road and driving.

Stay off the damn phone.

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