I was driving down the freeway a couple of days ago and saw something very frightening. In the car next to me, going about 65 miles an hour, was a person reading a book! Not only that but it almost completely covered his steering wheel! My first thought was to honk and get his attention but I was afraid he’d lose his place. How unfortunate for him! So, to avoid any read rage I very carefully steered clear and hoped he was at least reading a book with large print so he didn’t strain his eyes. Later, I mused about what better way to spend a boring commute, driving down the freeway with speeding cars and other too cozy, too dozy and distracted drivers, than reading a good book to pass the time! I would like to know what book this multi-tasking maniac was reading that was worth risking his life and the lives of others for.
I’m sure you’ve seen many multitasking maniacs out there on the road trying to save time and tempting their fates with phones, food and many other potentially hazardous to our driving distractions. Maybe you’ve experienced your own close calls while talking on the phone, sending a text, putting on make-up, shaving, eating food, or even reading a book? Sure you may have made it safely to your destination, that time, but did you really save enough time to risk losing your vehicle, or your life?
I’m not trying to condemn the efficiency of multi-tasking, but there are some things you just shouldn’t do at the same time. I think driving and reading a book qualifies close to the top of the list. I could be wrong, but I’m not going to try it just to find out! That’s what audio books are for. Texting is up there too, but aren’t texting and talking on a cell-phone different? After all, the person calling or sending a text will surely feel ignored and rejected if they don’t get an immediate response, right!? And how rude of us if they have to leave a voice mail, or we have to wait until we find a parking spot to update our social status. If you don’t change your ways, it’s going to be awfully difficult to send a text, or answer a call from a hospital bed, or worse place.
I encourage each of us this week and always to think about the value of our lives, more than the value of our time, especially when we’re driving. We don’t want to get a D.U.I.D. (Driving Under the Influence of Distractions)! Let’s all be safer and smarter with our smart phones. You can read or send that tempting text later. Remember that voicemail is your friend and if you really need to read that book, get a designated driver, call a taxi, or wait until you get safely home. The rest of us drivers and our families will thank you because we’ll get home safely too.