Hang Up And DriveRebekah Kuschmider
Did you have any idea you were in a left-turn-only lane when you went straight through that intersection just now? Good thing we’d been stopped at a red light because that meant I was going slowly enough that I could slam on the brakes to avoid a major crash when you drifted in front of me. Same with the woman behind me, who now thinks I’m a terrible driver because she couldn’t see what you did.
My heart was still racing from the near-miss when I pulled up next to you half a mile down the road. I glanced over and it was as I suspected. You were on the phone. I felt the usual fury when I saw that because you people who flout the law about handset use are putting me and my kids in danger with every mile you chat away. Your speed is erratic. Your car drifts to the right then snaps back. And you do things like go straight from the left-turn lane.
Then you did something inexcuseable: you turned into my neighborhood. Specifically, you turned onto the street by the playground. And a voice in my head boomed “OH HELL NO!”. That’s when I followed you. See, you don’t get to drive recklessly in places where kids play, not on my watch.
I found you parked right across from the playground and I pulled up next to you. When you rolled down your window, I got right to the point. I called out the phone use, the bad driving, the near miss you didn’t even know we’d had. I pointed out my baby fast asleep in the back of my car. I pointed out the playground.
You had the sense to apologize, then offered me an excuse that you’d worked the night shift at a hospital 30 miles away and you were very tired. “All the more reason to stay off the phone,” I said.
You didn’t like my harangue. You didn’t like that I didn’t accept your apology and your excuse and then leave you alone. But your apology and your excuse would be meaningless if your careless driving had caused an accident. What if you had hurt me or my child or a child in my neighborhood because you can’t shut your damn yap for one minute behind the wheel? Do you think being sorry or tired would have been good enough for the judge? For the family of the injured person? I don’t think so.
Hang up the phone. Leave it in your purse. Or in the trunk if you can’t resist the temptation. Driving is a big responsibility and you need to give it your whole attention. You can’t talk on the phone or text and drive well. No one can. So stop doing it. Everyone will be safer if you do.
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