Warning: Texts While Driving

Let’s give three cheers for the people who text while driving. No, really. They give the news so much to talk about. What with the millions of car accidents they’re causing constantly. Every three seconds someone dies from texting…..while driving. No, that statistic is -not- real. Not at all.

For those of you who don’t know me well enough to catch my vocal inflections when you read what I’ve typed, I’m making fun of the media and similar warning institutions for jabbering on about texting while driving. Now you may ask me, “Denise, are you saying that it’s okay to text while you’re driving?” Uh. No. I do not condemn nor do I promote the act of texting while driving. Here’s why:

Since I began driving, I have only been in one accident which was in a parking lot of a gas station where I was really freaked out with all of the traffic. I backed into a parked car that pulled in behind me as I was backing around in a circle to leave the parking lot. Yes. I, a woman driver, backed into a parked car. $400 later, I was driving again. I have had three near accidents while I have been driving that are memorable to me, and even then only barely so. Two were [nearly] caused because I wasn’t paying attention while changing CD’s. One, I believe, was weather related.

So here’s the point of this post, my fine reader friends: let’s stop micro managing driving problems, eh? Stop this “texting is the devil and drunks are hell-bound bastards”. It’s absurd. I am NOT saying you should drive while drunk. Nor while texting. No, this is what I AM saying: IF YOU ARE DRIVING AND ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE ROAD FOR ANY REASON, YOU SHOULD NOT BE ON THE ROAD DRIVING. And I will not pity you for the accident you cause.

Example: we know that accidents are caused by texting. We know that accidents are caused by drugs, including alcohol, that slow the body’s response time. We also know that accidents are caused by 80 year old women who can’t seem to tell the difference between the gas and break pedal. I was in a Giant parking lot about a week ago and happened to see a woman who had slammed on her gas pedal instead of her break pedal and wound up getting her car stuck on the median strip of the parking lot AND had creamed the front end of an SUV. I believe the woman was rushed to the hospital. But I have yet to see a public campaign promoting the prevention of licenses over a certain age. I haven’t even seen a spark of a publicly promoted idea for a plan to re-test license holders over a certain age to see that they’re still capable of driving. I know family members that wouldn’t be able to drive if this was the case. And honestly, I think the world would be a safer place without them on the roads behind the controls of a few tons of hard matter.

So let’s be realistic in our condemnations. If we’re to condemn drunks and texters, why not the evil CD changer? Why not the coffee-holic who’s spilled java in their lap for the hundredth time and has to reach for the napkins? Why not the mother who’s trying to keep her children under control? Clearly -she- had it coming to her? So did that person who didn’t see that the light was red because they were thinking about their job, to do list, or cheating good-for-nothing husband/wife? Yes, just like the 80 year old woman had it coming to her in the Giant parking lot. Just like I have it coming to me because I text, change CDs, and eat in my car.

While we’re on the subject of driving and distractions and accidents and the like, let’s discuss something else: vigilantes. One day I was driving into Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland, to pick up a friend. I was getting directions from him while talking to him on my cellular phone. As I checked my mirrors and blind spots to merge, I noticed a woman directly next to me with her passenger window open, screaming at me to get off of my phone because I was going to cause an accident. Now, there are a few things you must understand: 1. My window was closed. 2. After getting directly off of a major highway, I was doing less than 35 miles an hour with traffic all around me. 3. I was not driving recklessly and had only began to merge lanes. 4. This woman cut off at least one vehicle and nearly caused three accidents in order to bark at me through her open window. 5. Should she have persisted, I would have ended up with my car in a ditch. After smiling and then laughing at how absurd this woman was, I slowed down to allow her to pass me so that I could merge behind her. She slowed as well, not allowing me to merge behind her. I sped up a little and so did she. Seeing as my merge lane was ending and I like my car best when it’s fully functional out of ditches, I hit my breaks gently, she slammed hers, and I sped in front of her to prevent any potential accidents or car-ditch meetings.

The moral of the story? Don’t be stupid. Don’t be an absurd vigilante trying to make your world a better place by telling and showing those gosh darn (insert your pet peeve of drivers here) drivers. Write your representatives telling them of the problems you see daily. Pressure them to pass legislation. Hold your policing force accountable to catch them. Hold your judges accountable to prosecute them. But for God’s sake don’t try to run cell phone users into ditches while merging just because they need directions at rush hour. He’s probably getting tired of your complaints and my laughter.

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