Rule number 2 — Stop playing with your gadgets in the car.

April 3, 2009 § 2 Comments

This week’s rule to live by comes courtesy of my being an idiot and hitting a car this week in stand-still traffic: Put down the gadgets, and focus on the road.

Wednesday morning, traffic on the freeway was significantly heavier than ususal, and was even backed up to the onramp. I eased on the brakes, and prepared to sit. As I was fumbling around, trying to fish out my Blackberry to read whatever email or text message that just came in, I heard the somewhat terrifying sound of metal scraping against metal. As I looked up, my heart sank as I realized that my foot had not been fully on the brake and I had drifted ahead, pinning my driver’s side front bumper against the passenger side rear bumper of the car in front of me. Saying a few choice words, I peeled my car to the right (further scraping and ruining more paint), and pulled to the side of the road, just behind the lady I hit (who had already pulled over to the shoulder.)

Luckily, I got the worst of the damage, with a dent on my wheelwell and the ladies silver paint all over my car. She had some missing paint, but nothing that shouldn’t be able to be buffed out.

The moral of the story is, I don’t pay attention when I drive. Between text-driving, switching songs on the iPod, changing the temperature in the car, answering calls… I’m borderline dangerous on the road. And I know I’m not the only one, because other idiots like me swerve in and out of my lane, or almost hit me from behind. I know the signs, because I am a sufferer.

When I was in South Africa, I found out that it is illegal to talk on a cell phone, and the penalty is a HEFTY fine (couple hundred bucks.) People there have devices that run the phone through the car stero. I think this is a wonderful idea, and would totally support a move in this direction. I’m also on board with California’s ban on talking while driving.

So, my focus for the week is to leave the phone in my pocket at all times, and be satisfied with the assortment of tunes that the iPod gives me when set on shuffle.


§ 2 Responses to Rule number 2 — Stop playing with your gadgets in the car.

  • wallace424 says:

    This is a prime example as to why texting and such should be illegal when driving a car! My mom does have a car that you can use the car speakers for phone calls. They don’t work that good. For the iPod, I would set it to shuffle and if it’s a song you don’t want to listen to, then hit the next button. That way you aren’t searching your iPod and hitting cars at the same time.

  • Lauren Baxter says:

    I totally feel your pain here. Back in the Spring of 2008, I was at a stoplight on my way to work (then I lived in Chapel Hill and drove to Raleigh every day instead of driving from Durham like I do now) and I picked up my Blackberry Pearl at the time to text something to a coworker. The light was red so I thought I had a bit of time to spare. Then I noticed the light turn green and while I was still texting, I put my foot on the gas to go, not even realizing that the car in front of me had not moved yet. You can figure out that I ran right into the back of the woman’s car. Had I not been texting I would have noticed that she too was doing something in her car to keep her attention from realizing that the light had turned red. It totally sucked; my car had to get quite a few hundred dollars of repair work b/c I hit something in the front of my car that started leaking. The other woman’s car was actually fine and she drove off after looking to see there was no damage on her car. I ended up lucky on that one account.

    For a while I was much more super-safe when driving and did not text at all or read emails while driving. I still talked on the phone but tried not to unless someone called me. But lately I’ve started slipping again and checking my email again as well as looking at facebook status updates – ridiculous right?! I’ve got to get better in the habit of stopping myself when I pick up the phone and thinking in my head “is it really worth it to know what some guy from high school said on his facebook status even if I get in an accident?” We both know the answer. Good luck on keeping the phone and ipod out of arms reach while driving; I hope you can keep it up!

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