Monday, December 14, 2009
A Piece of Mind: The Dangers of Distracted Driving
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When you only give a piece of your mind to something that is important... I mean very important... it is just like giving none of yourself to it.
In fact, only piece of your mind can be very dangerous to everyone when you're doing some things.
Take this past Saturday... a rainy day. I'm on my way to take my son to a ballgame at the school, just five minutes from my house. I'm stopped at the red light and getting ready to cross US 19 at probably the busiest intersection in Camilla. My light turns green and (thank goodness) I just happen to slowly begin my way across the intersection. Fortunately for my son and I, when I reached the middle of the road (across the first three lanes of northbound traffic) I happened to see out of the corner of my eye, a woman and her fluffy white poodle in a van barreling southbound through the red light. I was incredulous but slammed on breaks and yelled for my son to brace himself as we slid into her through the rain-sodden streets.
She never even hit the breaks nor saw me at all - since I hit the brakes, instead of her t-boning me and hitting my son's passenger door, I hit just behind her door. It was the difference in a horrible accident and an accident where everyone walks away -- just a split second. The only witness wasn't paying attention because he was on his cell phone with his wife and said he wasn't sure about the light - if it was green or red and didn't notice till the silver van came spinning towards him. The woman driving the van said she didn't notice if the light was green or red and wasn't sure. (Her poodle may have had something to do with it.)
Well, I'll tell you something, at this time... this one split second.. I'm thankful to my good Lord above that my whole mind was on the road and the rain and the traffic and the oncoming traffic. I'm also thankful to my good Lord for the value of that split second. That split second where I could have been hurried and rushed and been so eager to get to the game that it would have cost my son and us dearly.
Although now with all this going on and for car to be at the body shop is really a strain - I'm glad my car is at the body shop and my son's body is here at my house alive and breathing and well.
I don't have a lot of time to share because I've got to go cook until about 1 am this morning for family coming into town on Friday, but I do want to share this.
When you're behind the wheel of a car - that is not the time to only have a piece of your mind or a piece of your eye or a piece of anything on the road ahead - it is the time to have your whole mind on driving. YOUR WHOLE MIND. It is not the time to give a piece of your mind to the driver in front of you who is driving slowly - what good does your anger do? As I tell my students - -if you argue with someone and you both get hurt - even if you are right - what good have you done?
I'd rather lose an argument and save a life!
This is the season for giving but not the season for giving traffic tickets or dents or wrecks or God forbid, trips to the hospital. The sad fact is, that as my student points out in the movie he just submitted for the Flat Classroom project two weeks a go - that Driving while texting (and the larger picture - Driving While Distracted) is claiming more lives than drunk driving. It is time to wake up and get these things out of our hands... so whether you are driving while poodling or driving while texting or driving while distracting -- it is time for the while to come out unless it is driving while paying attention.
We've all got to stop giving pieces of ourselves to driving unless we all want to end up in pieces and start focusing on what is important. Driving is a great thing that has made us more mobile and advanced human society - but when we need cameras to document accidents because most of the humans at the intersection are doing something else, that is just plain sad.