Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Driving While on the Phone

Driving while on the phone. Every driver has done it or at least they've seen people do it. Talking, both handheld and hands-free. Texting. Everyone is against drinking and driving but somehow the above behaviors are okay.

A couple days ago, one of the men who worked for my mom didn't show up to work. The reason? His wife and daughter were in a car accident, hit by a car that was barreling at 40 miles per hour. The driver was on their cell phone. Fortunately, it looks like they're going to be okay (though traumatized) but others aren't so lucky.

When you're younger, you think that your parents would always be able to protect you. They are the big giants ready to beat the monsters under your bed and in your closet. As you grow older, you begin to see your parents' flaws but that feeling never goes away entirely. When you're in the car with them, you trust that you will go to your next destination without a problem. A car accident can't happen to you because your parents are good drivers even though a car accident can be as simple as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Yet I'm afraid that that man's daughter just had that innocence shattered. She will never think that way again and she will always be a bit on-edge when in a car. But that's the least of what she could have been dealing with now.

My parents drive and talk on the phone sometimes and I still think that nothing will happen to me. My mom says that since she's hands-free, it's not as bad because she has two hands on the wheel. Yet I can think of a couple times when we have fought on the phone over something stupid or she was stressed or we were heavily involved in a conversation over some news event or whatever. Now I recognize how dangerous that could have been and how little her being hands-free means. When you're on the phone with someone (talking and texting), your mind (or at least part of it) is thinking about the conversation not on the road. I'm not invincible and neither are my parents; these people who were in a car crash felt the same way once.

I am more rational than my childhood self. I know now that my feelings of safety more of a delusion than I think they are. I know that my parents would not hesitate to die for my sister and I but it's not that simple. My parents may be good drivers but they are still human, as are the other drivers on the road.

Texting while driving has been proven to be worse than drunk driving but talking while driving is pretty freaking bad too. According to, drivers who use a handheld device are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to hurt them. Using a phone (hands-held or hands-free) delays your reactions just as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 (a little better than drunk driving as that's the legal limit but just a little). Distracted driving (this is not just using the phone, I admit) is on the rise and it kills.

When you drive, you are putting your life your own life into your hands as well as your passengers and those on the road (who are doing the same with you). I'm not a driver and I don't look forward to becoming one in two years because I know this.

It's really not worth it. That phone call or text really can wait. If you don't think so, just ask anyone whose life has been altered by this destructive behavior.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you wholly and completely. Thank you for the post! I hope your mom's coworker and his family are okay.