Friday, March 2, 2012

Death Trap

Are you afraid of driving? No? Most people aren't. But we should be.

Yesterday I was driving down the interstate at 70mph and I put my right blinker on to move over to exit in a mile. The car in that lane was back far enough that I had room to get over, until I started to move over. She sped up. I slowed down. She slowed down. I sped up. She sped up. This went on for a few minutes, meanwhile my blinker is ON and the car behind her backed off to leave enough space for me to move in behind her after I had to slow down drastically. Guess what she was doing while she was driving? TEXTING. She was using my speed to judge her speed out of her peripheral vision. It wasn't until I noticeably dropped my speed that she LOOKED UP and noticed I was trying to get over. 70mph driving with peripheral vision. She was texting the whole time she was in the off ramp too and almost rear ended the cars stopped in front of her at the stop light. Thank God I got to turn the opposite direction from her at that light.

Five months ago I was in the car with my former boss going 70mpg down the same damn interstate and he takes out his cell phone while he's driving and begins reading his emails. I told him to put his phone away. He said it was fine and he was just reading, not texting. I told him to put the phone away again, that it could wait. He didn't. So I practically yelled at him "PUT THE DAMN PHONE DOWN while you are driving. I HAVE KIDS AT HOME." He finally put the phone down. Yeah, I pulled the kid card. He was irritated with me. I was livid with him.

Last week I heard about a young man we know who got a DUI. A good kid, responsible, great with children, funny and bright. He waited at his friend's house until he thought he was sober enough to drive home, hit a curb and blew out a tire. Someone called 911 as they passed him thinking it was more serious than it was. He thought he was sober enough. Thank God it was only a curb he hit. His friends didn't see this as a warning sign. One girl said something to the effect of "well you got caught in our circle so it can't happen to us since someone's already been caught." It took me a while to pick my jaw up off the floor for that one.

I check email, Facebook and Words with Friends at traffic lights. But when the light turns green I put my phone down. WHY take the chance? It can wait. I'm sorry but we're not that important and if you really believe you are, PULL OVER.

I'm seriously wary of driving at night now. I don't need some dip shit little girl thinking she can't get caught driving under the influence because her friend got busted and "whoever's heard of two people in the same group of friends getting busted?! OMG!" And in the day? The texters are everywhere, not paying attention, swerving, leaving little room for adjustment for other drivers. It's scary. Do you think it can't happen to you? I don't think that way. I think it's a very real possibility and so I pay more attention to what's going on around me. I mean, I have kids. Even if they aren't with me in the car to possibly be hurt, I wouldn't want them to grow up without me. Sure they'd survive but I don't want them to go through that.

I really don't think the majority of people will ever learn or ever stop. And that makes the roadways one giant death trap.