During lunch at work today, one of my colleagues is talking about a vehicle collision she experienced. She said that when she left her car to speak to the driver of the other car, the driver came out, cellphone on hand. This resulted to her suspecting that the driver may have been texting while driving and did not react on time, which resulted to the poorly timed turn and hitting their own car.
I was crossing an unmarked crosswalk on a T intersection from our neighbourhood park to the next row of houses. There is a stop sign, so drivers need to stop before deciding whether to turn left or right. I am proactive when crossing the street so I paused, watched the car closely, ensure they see me, before crossing. The car did not stop completely, and during the slow pause, there it is. The driver has one hand on a cellphone and their eye on it and not on the road. I continued looking at this driver and he waved I guess something like an apology before proceeding, instead on stopping and waving for me to cross.
I take the bus every single day to work. Being seated in a slightly more elevated position, I can easily look at the window and count how many drivers have their phones on one hand while the other on the wheel. Many times, they would have it on their lap instead, where they would grab it as soon as the light turns red. I suppose they would be either browsing social media apps or texting, and they would do it with both hands! And then when the light turns green, which they won’t notice right away, they would be a few seconds of delay before they drop the phone back to their lap and move on forward. I wish this is only a driver or two, but it is so frequent it’s terrifying for me.
Several times when I have visited my in-laws for dinner, we would watch episodes of Canada’s Worst Driver. The video clips would show the behaviours that the candidates have that pushed a love one to take them to this ‘driver’s rehab’. It ranges from texting and taking calls, applying make up, being too anxious and not being able to control their emotions and fears when driving, or not following driving rules and etiquette. I wished that these behaviours are only exhibited by these ‘rare’ individuals that makes reality TV interesting. But alas, it is not the case.
I ask you to play a proactive part in stopping this incredibly harmful behaviour.
According to a CAA report, these are how many more times that drivers are more likely to be in a crash or near collision event compared with non-distracted drivers:
• Texting : 23 times more likely
• Reaching for a moving object : 9 times more likely
• Talking on the phone: 4 – 5 times more likely
• Applying Makeup: 3 times more likely
There was a report from Ontario about a horrific car accident, where the driver was a teenager, and it was a case of distracted driving. An interactive webpage showed the corresponding text messages sent and received by the driver’s cellphone and the points in the road leading to the crash. It was clear that there were multiple messages that were coming in, which demonstrates that the driver was using their phone. Three teenagers in the vehicle died.
I think it is worthwhile to reduce the likelihood of preventable accidents for the benefit of our love ones who may be driving, be a pedestrian, or passengers in our vehicles.
Having someone get really hurt, or worse, pass away because of a collision from distracted driving is unnecessary. No number of re-tweets or social media comments will provide adequate comfort from a broken bone or a fender bender. What’s a few minutes of trying to save time by eating while driving, if because of having to suddenly break for not noticing an unexpected bunny crossing the road, your food gets spilled all over the seat and your shoulder now hurts from having to brake?
Please place your phone on Bluetooth, apply your lipstick in your bathroom door not the car’s mirror, and plan to have breakfast in the dining table or at work, instead of behind the wheel. These ‘multitasking’ attempt is simply not worth it.