Is there ever a time when road rage could be considered righteous anger?
I’m kind of hoping so.
For the last week I’ve really been struggling with something.
Cell Phones and Cars
People laugh at me because I keep my cell phone on vibrate 99.9% of the time. That other 1% is when I know someone is going to be trying to call and I’m NOT driving. I just don’t see the need for people to have access to me 100% of every day. And that’s my choice, I get that. But honestly, I don’t see the need to touch my phone when I’m driving. Partly because I’ve seen the statistics of accidents caused by texting while driving. It’s so unnecessary! If you need to answer someone’s text so badly that they can’t wait a half hour for you to get to your destination, then please, PLEASE, PULL OVER.
Last week my friend and I were driving home from the hospital. I had just had an ultrasound and had seen the most beautiful picture of an active baby I had ever seen. I cried during that hour. I didn’t cry with the other 3 babies’ ultrasounds. But having a baby in Heaven made that moment so much more special. It made me value those precious moments of seeing a little nose, hands waving, feet kicking away. I cannot tell you the love that you can feel for a little person that you haven’t even held.
Then we started home. And as we drove the last stretch of highway to our exit, we passed a car. A car that should have been passing us, as it was in the fast lane. And the driver’s head was down, staring at a phone. My shock turned to anger so quickly, and even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. Did he not care that he could cause an accident? If he hit the car I was in, he could potentially hurt this little baby I was carrying.
And thank goodness no other kids were in the car!
I told my friend she should honk her horn so we could express our displeasure at his lack of concern for others. She didn’t think that was a good idea, as that could potentially cause him to have an accident if it startled him. She was right, but it still burned me. I really understood road rage at that moment.
That night, on our way to church, my husband and I passed two more cars with drivers texting! Or at least playing on their phones when they should have been looking at the road. And the fact that we had time to go past them and never saw their heads lift, means that their eyes were off the road far longer than they should have been.
And I saw ANOTHER one on the way home from church that night.
Why is it necessary to place other’s lives in danger just to answer someone’s question? Or reply to a witty text message?
The government of Canada did an “observational study” on cell phone use in Canada while driving and concluded that “Hand-held phone use by drivers was revealed, in this study, to be a common behaviour on Canadian roads, despite the risks and public concern.”
“Despite the risks and public concern“???????
I couldn’t find a lot of statistical data based on Canadian surveys regarding cell phone use, but the website textinganddrivingsafety.com had some statistics that seem to mirror those of our American neighbours.
- In 2011, 23% of all car crashes were caused by texting while driving. That equals about 1.3 MILLION crashes.
- The minimum amount of time that someone’s eyes are off the road while texting is 5 seconds. This may not seem like much but actually equals the length of a football field when traveling at normal road speeds (55 mph). A FOOTBALL FIELD!
- 77% of drivers think they can safely text while driving? Seriously?
I also have to say, the ones I saw texting that ONE DAY alone, were all adults, not teenagers or 20-somethings. People who should have more sense than to buy in to the lie that they’re “driving safely” while texting. Distracted driving of any kind can cause accidents and taking your eyes off the road for the length of a football field definitely qualifies as distracted driving.
I was so tempted to take down license plates that day and contact the police, but I’m not even sure they could have done anything – or that it would have helped those people to stop texting while driving – even though it IS illegal in Nova Scotia and, I’m pretty sure much of the rest of Canada as well.
But the next time you’re tempted to just send a quick text to someone while driving can you do something for me?
- Instead of picking up your phone, ask yourself, is this an emergency? Will the time it takes me to get to my destination be too late to send this? If so, pull over.
- If it can wait, PLEASE, let it wait.
- Think about the people around you, that van full of children headed home. Those kids playing on their front lawn. The mother who just came from seeing her baby on an ultrasound, or the one bringing a new baby home from the hospital. The dad who is trying to get home from work to kiss his family. The grandparents on their way to see their grandkids.
Because it’s not just about you. It’s about everyone around you.