Saturday, January 30, 2010

...I'm An Excellent Driver...

Remember Vince and Larry, the crash test dummies?


For the record, real crash test dummies don't look nearly that friendly. Despite being mostly beige in color, they managed to have a more human presentation to them. They come in both genders, all ages, and various sizes, and the first time I ever saw one in person, it scared the skittles out of me.

My dad crashed cars for a living. And no, he didn't hop behind the wheel and drive into walls. His job was to set up and conduct crash tests and prepare documents for review. I saw a real dummy one day when he took me to work when I was a kid.

I remember being surprised at how it didn't take much to make a regular situation bad, and a bad situation worse. A slick surface, or a wind gust could make a suddenly braking car do some poetic but awful things. Add in all the distractions drivers amuse themselves with and you have bumper cars outside of the corral.

If I had a penny for every driver I saw do something stupid while they had a phone attached to their head, cord dangling near their mouth, or bluetooth stuck in their ear, I could have quit my job years ago. (Eating drivers make me crazy, too, but they're a whole other animal.)

My friends and family like to joke about how I will actually pull over to make a call if I need to. And if you call me while my car is in motion, I won't answer. Everyone says that they can't live without their phone, but how many unnecessary and inappropriate conversations have you overheard  in a store? If they won't hang up long enough to pick up a half gallon of milk, they probably won't hang up to switch lanes on the freeway. Everyone's talking but no one's saying anything.

I heard a girl in a beauty supply store the other day describe her date's genital region in detail. And then describe what they did that night. So not only is she loud, rude, class-less and running up her phone bill, from what I heard, she should probably go see a doctor. (Ladies, if you see ANYTHING green on a man, don't touch it! And certainly, don't let it touch you!)

My cell phone bill is $25 a YEAR. I have a "pick up and go" phone, and the only reason I add money every year is so the minutes keep rolling over. And I very rarely text. Driving or otherwise, I just don't really have a reason to do it, so I don't.

So between a genuine disinterest in communicating at all times about all things and a dire need to practice safe driving, I am careful to watch what I'm doing, and try to keep an eye out for other driver that maybe isn't as concerned or as careful.

As of January 26, 2010, Michigan is on the verge of becoming the next state to officially ban texting while driving, and hopefully the threat of a financial penalty or worse, will be enough to get people to direct their attention to the road, and only to the road. And if that doesn't work, then maybe this will.

Please drive carefully. You mean something to someone and they want you get home safely.

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