Driving distracted

A few years ago, before the age of texting, my best friend had an extremely serious car accident when she reached for the dipping sauce for her garlic cheese fingers. She was driving out to her boyfriends, had had a very hectic day, and was trying to cram dinner in while driving. When the sauce slipped to the side of the passenger seat, she cautiously reached over to grab it and in doing so, veered the car slightly right. As soon as the tires hit the gravel, it was a done deal. The car careened into the ditch and slammed head on into a culvert. It was totaled and thankfully, by the grace of God, my best friend was unscathed. Although for the next five years, her car insurance was through the roof.

We’ve all been guilty of driving distracted. The kids fighting in the back seat, a heated argument with your significant other, or the oddities you see walking down the street that not only grab, but hold your attention for seconds. And now, with the explosion of our need to be in “constant communiqué” with our friends and family, it’s only gotten worse. Talking, texting, emailing, and surfing – the list goes on – all while driving.

It’s as if driving seems so easy, so safe, and so insignificant that we can do anything while driving. We seem to forget that we are all behind the wheel of a compilation of steel and mechanical parts weighing anywhere between 4000 and 15000 pounds going 30, 50, 110 kilometers an hour making it, in some senses, a very dangerous weapon.

They say if you drive while texting, you are 27 times more likely to be in an accident. Did you know that is tantamount to driving drunk? A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10 or greater is seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash than is a driver who has not consumed alcoholic beverages, and a driver with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or greater is about 25 times more likely.

AT&T just released a short documentary that they hope will convince people to stop texting while driving. The campaign is geared towards teens in the hopes that the youth of the world will stop texting and driving but in this day in age, I think the video applies to everyone, at every age, and in every demographic.

And if that one didn’t make you take pause before picking up your phone while driving, check out this UK video showcasing the dangers of texting while driving.

Honestly, for me, it comes to know acknowledging and understanding that driving is a privilege! If you are on the road, behind the wheel of an automobile, you have a responsibility to the other people on the road to be as safe as possible – your driving education is up to date, your health and ability to drive and respond appropriately is in check, you aren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and you most certainly aren’t engaging in distracting activities like texting while driving.

It’s about being accountable and taking a real, personal responsibility in your own safety and the safety of others when you choose to drive.

Having lost my father in a car accident when a driver hit a piece of black ice and hit my father head on, killing him instantly, and then my mother-in-law when she was hit and killed by a drunk driver, I know far to personally how dangerous the roads can be. So, I extend this plea to everyone – take your personal safety and that of others on the road seriously enough to drive with care, caution, and attention – it’s the least you can do!

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