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Life happens – some days you run late to work because your alarm clock didn’t go off, and you didn’t have time to dress so your car becomes the dressing room – your rear-view becomes the bathroom mirror. And it’s not just you – the drivers around you are in the same position. One car, five-cars ahead in the bumper-to-bumper traffic that forms as people impatiently sacrifice a few extra feet for the false-sensation of moving faster, hits their breaks too soon.
Wheels skid. Two cars escape. You catch sight of the collision as it happens, dropping the half-knotted tie you were wearing to flip the wheel but don’t have time to steer clear of the wreck.
I say this as someone who was almost moments from this exact scene happening, a few days ago (for the record – I managed to just get away without hitting anyone):
How much later will you be when you crash? How much more stress will you feel, being stuck paying for elevated insurance rates, repairs to your car (because your insurance won’t cover the damage to your car), and the possible conscience-damage of having killed or hurt the people you collided with?
The morning drive can be one of the most dangerous parts of a workday. You stress, perhaps late to work, perhaps busy being cut-off by the fifteenth impatient driver who’s combing their hair, texting their boss and clipping their nails while driving with their knees. There are so many external variables that can cut your attention and distract your mind from the road.
But it doesn’t have to be like this.
Obviously, you can’t control the chaos of other drivers vying for position on the road, but put it in perspective –
You are charged with driving 1-to-2 tons of steel and plastic at a rate that’s fast enough to permanently maim – if not kill – almost anything it strikes (including the person inside of the vehicle). Yes, it’s technically possible to brush your teeth while holding hands with your partner and blasting down the highway at 85 miles-an-hour – but is this really the best choice?
Cars give a false-sense of security. The fact is: air bags, crumple-zones and seat belts are not a perfect fail-safe. While, yes, they do increase your chances of surviving, they are far from guaranteeing your safety (and do nothing to help the safety of others you hit).
Every collision is serious. Stop texting. Stop distracting yourself – your life is worth more than a phone call.
This post was made for Distracted Driver Awareness Month, by David Loret de Mola. To see more articles like this, go to http://safetycenter.org/blog/.