Distracted Drivers - that's all of us
The old joke about distracted drivers is told by a man. He's upset to see a woman putting on her makeup as she drives along. He gets so upset that he drops his cell phone and spills his coffee on the magazine he's reading.
Okay, so we're all distracted while we're driving at some time or another. I know very few people who believe and behave as if "driving is a full time job." If what my professor in college said is true, driving is a "time shared experience." That's means we do other things while driving.
Yes we do. Lots of things. The problem is that many of us have shown that we are incapable of doing multiple things well, especially when one of those things is driving a motor vehicle. I for one am not comfortable with my fellow driver doing multiple tasks while operating a 3,000 pound vehicle at high speed, but all I can do is them once I recognize the problem.
Your best defense against distracted drivers is to keep your distance. My choice is to be far behind them if they're keeping up with traffic, and far in front of them if they're dawdling about.
The key to remember about distracted driving is the car will tend to travel in the direction of the distracting activity. For example, if you reach for something on the passenger side floor, you'll tend to steer your car in that direction. I don't know why, but I know this is generally true.
We also need to remember that it's not like we aren't expected to do multiple things while driving. We have lights, wipers, temperature controls, CDs, GPS units, radios, tape players and cup holders built right into our vehicles. It's not reasonable to think that these controls and conveniences will only be used when the vehicle is stopped.
So, distracted drivers will be everywhere there is a moving motor vehicle.
As I've mentioned before, we want to avoid dangerous and careless drivers, but we also want to be careful that we're not setting a bad example for others to follow. With cell phones, personal communications devices and personal entertainment devices - all with keypads and color displays - we need to be on guard so that we aren't setting ourselves up to be the cause of an accident.
When you consider that many accidents happen because drivers who are paying attention can't respond in time to those who aren't, it makes a lot of sense to minimize anything that can distract you because that simply lessens the likelihood that you can respond in time.
I generally don't have the radio on, and I don't want anyone talking to me when I'm driving in heavy or fast traffic, or when there is high potential for cross traffic.
If there is a big wreck alongside of the road, I have my passengers look, but I don't. I'm not kidding - I never look at the scene of an accident. I'm not squeamish, but with all the other distracted drivers looking at the accident scene, there has to be someone paying attention.
Think of it this way. When your life is in the hands of someone behind the wheel, is it in your best interest to distract them or help them concentrate on driving safely? It's a no-brainer in my book. I don't want the person behind the wheel in the car I'm riding in to be one of the distracted drivers.
Done with Distracted Drivers, back to Safe Driving