Distracted in the Fast Lane
OK, I am going to go out on a limb here. I have on a RARE (yes RARE) occasion picked my nose while driving my car. Yes, I am admitting it in writing on the world wide web. I suppose now I cannot run for a political office.
The other day, as I am thinking in my car about this article topic of distracted driving, I look over at a middle aged guy in a truck. We are both stopped at a red light (remember, I have a cute red VW bug that I wrote about in my first article…). He is going after something in his nose. I think GROSS, but who am I to judge? I just confessed to RARELY nose picking only moments ago. The only thing different between me and him is that I make sure no one is looking. I wouldn’t risk it if a car is next to me. He must feel invisible to others in his car or just doesn’t care. Is nose picking distracted driving? Maybe, but I have no trouble keeping my eyes on the road.
So what weird things do people do in cars? The first thing that comes to my mind is the “razor’s edge woman.” Remember the Florida woman who had a car crash—she was shaving her bikini area while driving. EX-husband is in the passenger seat and they are on the way to HER boyfriends house? Here is the CBS News article if you hadn’t heard about it and don’t believe me. I only checked a few websites—no one mentions if she cut herself! OUCH! Enough of that train of thought! I would say that is distracted driving.
Why do people eat and drive? I can see taking a sip of your soda while stopped at a traffic light, but eating & driving? Don’t you want to enjoy what your tossing down your gullet? The woman who spilled McDonald’s hot coffee in her lap wasn’t even driving. She was in the passenger seat when her coffee spilled. Why risk it? Eating is definitely distracted driving.
I found this crazy list of 11 things truck drivers have seen drivers do. They would have the best view of other drivers. The top 3 items are: Wardrobe changes, diaper changes, and piano playing! I’m not familiar with this source, but it is an entertaining and scary list.
You all know that I am leading up to cell phones. Did you know:
In 2008, nearly 6,000 people died in crashes that involved distracted driving. Distracted driving applies to anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the steering wheel, or interrupts your concentration while driving.” — Source: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Distracted
Nebraska and Iowa as well has many other states have enacted a ban on texting while driving (see the complete list here).
The number one thing I notice is how many people are on their cell phones talking and driving. I can’t imagine how many are texting, but that is tougher for me to spot—they could just be looking at their radio. PLEASE turn your phone off when you get in the car. That way it won’t go off and distract you. Oprah’s has the No Phone Zone Pledge. As I am writing this, she has had 357,873 people sign up.
I found normally calm, collected Meredith Vieira’s attempt at driving and texting on The Today Show humorous because she swore on national television right before rear-ending a pick-up!
Here is the bottom line. I have two teenagers. One is driving, one will be driving soon. Cell phones and cars are definitely on my mind. I am reminding you (and me) that we can all be smarter and wiser about what we do in the car. I know I can count on all of you not to shave in the car. I know that I will be keeping BOTH hands on the wheel now that I mentioned the whole nose picking thing!
I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Thanks so much for reading.