Statistics tell us that a person who is texting while driving is distracted to the point that the driver is the equivalent of a drunk driver. I am pleased to report that in my world the teenagers I encounter are well educated about the danger of drunk driving. I hear many stories about parents who speak frankly with their children about drunk driving. This may include telling them to stay where they are, call a cab which will be paid for no questions asked when they arrive home, or even getting up and picking them up. We are not condoning teen alcohol consumption and believe that all steps must be taken to educate teens about the dangers of alcohol, the positive features of abstinence and moderation. However, we know that teens are, at sometime, going to experiment. This means they will lose control. This mean they must know that we are there to help them when they need it.
Although education programs are increasing teen awareness of the dangers of texting while driving (TWD) more must be done. Parents, the laws against TWD are difficult to enforce. We cannot rely upon the police to protect our children. We must talk with them in the same way we must talk with them about the dangers of drunk driving. Serious personal and wrongful death are the consequences of TWD. Not only does TWD pose a threat to others on the road, but it is a threat to the texter. Paralysis, broken bones, brain injury and other serious personal injury await those who text and drive.
Put that phone down, or stop at a safe location. Your friends will understand if your response is delayed. If they do not, they are not true friends.
You are at a party, a bar, in your home. You choose to drink alcohol. You don’t think much of it, everyone does it. Your start to feel good. If you don’t feel invincible, you don’t really care about anything. Your sense are dulled, and you are sluggish. It is time to go home. It is time to go to another bar. It is time to get fast food. You do what you always do, you go for your car keys. Only most of the time you are not drunk. Now you are, and you are getting into a 2000 pound powerhouse of glass steel and rubber. You do not think what it takes to operate this machine safely, heck you have been driving safely for years, you say to yourself, I can handle it. You don’t think about what the energy in this car can do to the human body. You don’t think about the horrific personal injuries you can inflict. You don’t imagine what it must be like to lie in a bed, trapped in a body that no longer moves because it is paralyzed. You don’t think about what it must be like for the injured Hoosier to lie awake at night and deal with the anxieties that afflict one who is responsible for taking care of a family and can no longer do that. You don’t think about the little child who wakes up and has to be told that his mommy won’t be coming home because she has suffered wrongful death at the hands of one who does not think, or care..
It would be nice if an angel could show you what your thoughtlessness does to families, but that is not the world we live in. We have to anticipate the consequences of our actions, and take steps to ensure that we do not needlessly endanger those around us. Think while you are sober about the dangers. Drum it into your head. Maybe, just maybe, if you do that you will choose not to be a drunk driver, and another family will be allowed to enjoy each other and the security a family provides.
Yesterday, it seems, was a bad day for semi tractor trailer crashes. Two multiple vehicle pile ups occurred. One in Indianapolis, just west of the city on I-70. The second took place in Detroit. Unfortunately three people suffered wrongful death and as many ten people suffered personal injury. Reading about these events reminded me of my recent brush with catastrophe. I was traveling south on I-65 and was near the Southport exit. It was snowing hard and the normally three lane road was compressed into two lanes with the left hand lane partially covered with snow. Almost all the traffic was travelling at a reduced rate of speed. Most of the semi tractor trailers were in the left hand lane and were travelling about 45 miles per hour. This is in keeping with the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Act rules regarding reduced speed on a highway in bad weather conditions. In additions the truckers were maintaining plenty of room between them and the next truck. This is another good safety procedure, given that if the truck in front loses control, there may be room and time enough for the second truck to avoid hitting the first truck.
I am in the left lane and travelling about 50 miles per hour. In front of me is another car going the same speed. I honor the 2 second rule I was taught in drivers ED. many, many years ago. I am passing a semi tractor trailer, and the snow it is kicking up is almost blinding me. I say to myself to remain calm, keep control and I will get by. Just as I am saying this, a car approaches me from the rear. I can see it is going much faster than I am, but there is nowhere for me to go, so I brace. The car comes up on my rear, less than a car length behind me and flashes their lights. I think to myself, “Where am I going to go, and where does this person think they are going”. What I am now sure of is that if there is any trouble with my car, the truck immediately to my right, or even the car in front of me, this car in back is going to hit me and all hell is going break loose. I keep my cool and slowly move past the truck and ease into the right lane. This takes about 5 minutes. As I do, the car behind me, with a 20 something at the wheel gives me a dirty look, looks down at her phone and runs right up on the tail of the driver in front.
I was glad to be rid of my tailgater. However, I am hoping this little story will help you remember to reduce speed on the highway, give the car in front plenty of room, and remember that everyone on the road deserves to get home to their loved ones alive and safe.