Yesterday I went to visit a friend who lives about 30 minutes away. I left a little early because there were a couple of places near her that I wanted to stop at. Little did I know that in that time I would have not one but two near accidents, thanks to someone on a cell phone.
The first incident was right after I got off the interstate and was heading in to town. I was on a side road that doesn't have much berm, it's a narrow road to begin with. Driving along minding my own business when next thing I know, there is an SUV heading right towards me in my lane. I wasn't quite sure what to do, but my knee jerk reaction was to lay on the horn. My car has one of those annoying Road Runner type horns that really gets your attention and apparently it worked because next thing I know the driver suddenly jerked the car back in to the correct lane. She jerked it so quickly that I was actually concerned that she might wreck. I'm fairly certain she was texting or something along those lines, her eyes were most definitely not on the road. Scared the heck out of me to put it mildly because not only was she driving badly, she was speeding as well, so it would have not been pretty had she hit me. Grrr...
I ran my errands and was heading across town on a side street that I have driven many times. This is a thru street with no stop signs on it, all of the streets that intersect do. I could see a car at one of the stop signs and slowed down a little. Good thing I did because she darned near pulled out in front of me! She stopped in time for me to miss her, but just barely. And guess what-she was talking on a cell phone. No surprise.
I'm really starting to hate cell phones. I thought they were a wonderful thing when they first came out, a way to get in touch with someone in an emergency, let your family know if you are stuck in traffic, etc. Now they have become an annoying pain in the neck. Driving while talking on a cell phone is bad, but now we have people who think that they can text while they drive-uh, I don't think so! Statistics show that texting and driving is every bit as bad as driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Yet in the United States, punishment for doing this is still minor. I don't get it.
In 2000 we went to the UK and spent some time with friends there. We were trying to get in touch with another person who we were to meet up with and while we were on the road, she did call back on my friends cell phone. He quickly answered the call, told her to hang on a second, then PULLED THE CAR TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, and then proceeded to finish the call. Afterwards I asked him about it and he said that the UK imposed heavy fines to anyone caught driving and talking. This was 14 years ago!!!! If the UK can get laws passed in regards to something this dangerous, why can't we get this done in the US?
In 2011, 23% of automobile accidents in the US were attributed to cell phones. That's 1.3 MILLION crashes. That's ridiculous. Text messaging is by far the worst offense with it contributing to the likelihood of an accident by 23 times! Now tell me, is that really worth it? Is that message or phone call going to be worth it if you kill someone (or several someone's) in the process? Or even yourself?
20 years ago very few people had cell phones. We got along just fine. I don't know of ANY conversation that is so important that you have to take it at that very moment. Not a single one. Do you have a problem ignoring a ringing phone? Perhaps it would be a good idea then to turn off the ringer when you get in the car and remove that temptation. Put the phone in the trunk or the back seat. Whatever it takes. It's a bad habit. If you are that bored, pick your nose or something. I'd rather see you doing that. Safety first!
Last night my husband started to tell me this story before I had even had a chance to tell him about what had happened to me. He was at a grocery store where a woman started to pull out and almost hit another car because she wasn't paying attention. Why? Yeah, you guessed it, she was on her cell phone. The woman she nearly hit is my hero. Apparently she blocked this woman's car, got out and proceeded to give her a total butt chewing right there, on the spot, in front of God and everyone. I told my husband that if I had been there I would have applauded her. And I hope it makes this woman rethink the importance of that phone call. It could have waited. Or she could have waited to pull out until she was done with the call.
SHUT THE PHONE OFF, PUT BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL AND DRIVE THE CAR!!! That phone call or text is not that damned important, but someone's life is. Driving is a privilege, NOT A RIGHT. Treat it like the privilege it is. Quit being stupid.