I am sure many of us have seen it. A car driving in front of us swerving on the road. This car is possibly inching its way into the oncoming lane, or in a multi-lane road, our lane. If we are given an opportunity to pass and look over what do we see? I know I usually see someone on their phone or looking down at their lap, clearly texting. This infuriates me. How dare they? No one has a right to put my family at risk of an accident, or worse, death, for a text. No one. Period. End of story.
Karma Is A Bitch
A question that comes up in our lives often is the one that asks what super power would you want to have if you were a superhero. I have bounced around between many possibilities over the years. Invisibility, super strength, flight, a combination of all the above. I have finally settled on one. The ability to deliver karma.
In the case of texting, or distracted driving, this becomes simple. I wish I was able to see the offense occurring and cause the offender to have an accident. The power does not stop there, I want to cause a one car accident where only the driver was injured and only their car totaled. The injury is specific, a broken right leg that would keep them from driving for several months, or maybe permanently. I would want this same power for drunk drivers, or chemically impaired drivers, but the focus is on texting today.
Imagine being able to have a sixth sense that highlighted a vehicle when there was someone texting and driving. Or Snapchatting while driving. Or basically doing anything with a device in their hand while driving. If only I could see into the car and witness the offending person putting everyone around them in danger. Then with a snap of my fingers, whamo! Crash! Karma has been served. A whole world of hurt has just been put on the driver. Anyone else in the car walks away unscathed, but the car, totaled. Leg broken. Anyone with me on this?
I have driven with my husband behind a driver who was texting (it was confirmed when we passed her on a four lane road). We saw her get into a left turn lane and promptly rear end a car. I thank God that she did not hit the car very hard, but it did crumple her front end a bit. While I feel awful that another car was involved, I was quite pleased that it happened in a minor collision. I can only hope that it taught this young woman something. Anything. I also hope she got ticketed out the yin yang when it happened.
First of all, as a nation we need to make the laws tougher. We need to make sure people who are doing this are ticketed, and that it is expensive. We need to, as parents, be an example to our children and continually teach them that picking up our phones for a text is not necessary. Not only that, it can be deadly. There is nothing that important. If you need to text someone, or you are expecting something important, pull over, go to a parking lot, take care of your business before you continue to drive.
In 2011 cell phones played a part in 23% of all accidents, please follow this link to see an infographic with statistics on this deadly epidemic. It is also the leading cause of accidents in teen drivers. http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats. While this graphic is a bit dated, it is a good visual and the statistics have not changed much since the 2011 figures. This needs to stop. Let’s be the citizens we want to be and make sure we are not doing it ourselves. Our example is our best offense in our children’s education. Never think they are not paying attention, they are.
Let’s Do Something
While my super power dream is just that, a dream. I do realize that it is time to get involved and do something. My first line of doing involves teaching my own children. I admit, in the early days of owning a cell phone, before data became prevalent, I was not a great example. But to paraphrase Maya Angelou, when we know better, we do better. I know I have tried to teach them best practices when having a cell device in the car. Best practice being DON’T TOUCH IT! I can only hope that they have listened. I want them doing what they are supposed to do so that they have a better chance of spotting and avoiding the imbeciles.
Our best defense is education and being part of the solution. Furthermore I continually tell my kids that because of the numbers of people out there being irresponsible, they need to be extra vigilant to protect themselves. They are both drivers and have their own cars. It is no longer a future worry for me. It is my reality. My children are now young drivers on the roads full of idiots. I worry now not only about drunks on the road, but the addition of technology created distractions now as well. It is a scarier place to drive, and my kids are out there driving.
I saw a video once that showed a town in Germany that told young drivers that they could not get their license before completing a driving test while texting. Not one child was able to do it, even with multiple tries. I have not been able to find the link so you will just have to trust me on this. I do believe every child should have to try to perform a driving course while texting just to show them what type of skill they really have. It may open a few eyes.
Who knows, maybe somewhere there is a super hero waiting to give you a little karma, you never know. In the meantime, we just have to keep our eyes peeled and on the lookout.
Please tell me how you are teaching your kids to combat this dreadful epidemic. I need faith that we are moving towards some sanity in this regard.