When I started driving we had the radio and cassette tapes in the car. No cds or auxillery cords, only the radio and cassette tapes. Piles of tapes. I remember how important it was to have the right music playing. Sometimes that meant swerving drastically while quickly reaching down in the floorboard of the passenger side (while driving) to grab a tape that had dropped and was now so desperately needed it was worth risking my life and the life of others to pick it up. In retrospect, of course, this was not a good idea.
Now, as a 45 year old mom ("yelling about safety" -quote from Beverly Goldberg in The Goldbergs TV show, if you lived in or love the 80's I highly recommend this show!) I would never condone this rash, irresponsible behavior. Yet, it makes me think. How often am I on my phone, even at a red light? How often am I fumbling to answer my phone, plugging in my headphones to be "safe" while I drive and talk?
Times have changed. Driving has changed. Thinking about reaching for the cassette tapes made me think alot about risks I took as a young driver and about risks many drivers, young and old, take today. We live in a highly congested area, lots of traffic, everyone in a hurry all the time. Ad in smart phones and everyone working 24/7 or at least communicating 24/7 and its a recipe for disaster on the road.
Distraction.gov is committed to educating America about distracted driving. According to their website,
The Huffington Post reports that a driver is 4 times more likely to end up in a crash while texting and driving. You can find information and statistics all over the internet. Or, in my town, you can see the results of hurried, distracted driving every week, sometimes daily with car crashes all around town.
I am just as guilty as the next person - driving distracted, ignoring my passengers, missing the moments I am in because of my phone. I am determined to slow down and not be tethered to my phone, especially in the car. I can enjoy the radio or talk to the people in the car with me instead of worrying about texting or talking to those who aren't. Maybe think or enjoy a quiet moment in the car if I am alone. Here's an idea, I can actually pay attention to my surroundings even at a red light.
Let's all stay safe and enjoy the road today.
Photo: By Hmvh (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons