Distracted Driving, as the term is currently in use, is a new problem having to do with the recent spate of new personal electronic gadgets we carry. But it really is not that new. Just ask your parents or grandparents about driving with you in the car as kids. Or while trying to tune an old AM analog radio. Or while “making out” while driving to or from the drive-in movie or anyplace else.
When I was seventeen I was hit by a woman who ran a stop sign. She was trying to deal with her two rugrats (Distracted driving?) and took off the front of my dad’s car. None of the four of us wore seatbelts (this was in 1967/68) and child seats? What were they? My dad got ticked off at me because I hadn’t noticed that she was going to run the stop sign.
Oh yeah, no serious injuries—just a bloody good scare.
We traded in my wife’s 2001 Jaguar S-Type (read too expensive to repair and maintain) on a 2014 Buick Enclave. Nice car—roomy, comfortable and quiet; 15-16 mpg in town and 22+ on the open road.
This vehicle has a back-up camera. Excellent. You can see if anyone is directly behind you and you won’t back over them. But then what? As you back out of your driveway, or parking space, do you continue to look at the screen and see where you are going or do you look out your windows to see what else is taking place. (You know the guy who drives 35 mph through the parking lot with his eyes on his shopping list wondering where to find Veet in the supermarket or, in my neighborhood, the guy who comes onto our frontage road at 55+ with his eyes on the high school cheerleader jogging by in her short-shorts.) Look to the front, both sides, the back and don’t get lost in looking only at the back-up camera screen in the car.
This car also has bluetooth. My cellphone automatically connects to the car’s entertainment system and when I get a call it is a “hands free” legal cellphone call.
This morning a minute or two after I left the house I got a call from the plumber. (I’d been playing “phone-tag” with the him for the last couple of days.) I spoke with him only for a couple of minutes but . . . I’d been approaching a STOP sign when I answered the phone. When we ended the call I found that I’d: stopped, made a right hand turn, crossed some railroad tracks, stopped and made a left hand turn and driven a half mile further on. And, I recalled doing none of it.
Distracted driving, indeed.
I don’t know about you but it scares the bejeebers out of me.