Driving Miss Distracted

24 Apr


My dad loved to drive. I think for him nothing represented freedom more than being able to get into a car and go…and he loved to go anywhere at any time. And back in those days, driving was just about all one could do in a car. You got behind the wheel, maybe opened the window (because air conditioning was a fancy extra in those days) and put on the radio (and there weren’t many stations so you didn’t have to worry about changing it all the time) and off you went.

And my dad loved the radio as a driving companion and we could always tell when he was just about home because the sound of his humming (he never sang along) preceded the noise of his car  as he turned the corner into our street. (and cars were noisy back then too)

Now however, things have noticeably changed when it comes to cars. They have become multi-task space stations for inner space travelers. Does anyone ever open a car window anymore? Even the dogs who travel with their owners demand climate control these days.

And have you noticed how taking out one’s phone is now a mandatory  prelude to the happy motorist’s opening of the car door?

Now-a-days when I’m driving in the car I not only pay attention to the road but I also try to pay attention to what the driver in front of me is focusing on… just in case I need to anticipate something I haven’t anticipated before.

I have seen drivers chatting on their phones, dialing their phones, programming their phones, texting on their phones, tweeting, reading their Nooks, doing crossword puzzles on their Kindles, fighting with their multi-disc CD players, watching DVDs, Searching for the proper station on their 100 channel pre-programmed Satellite radio… writing notes, putting on makeup, styling hair, Blackberrying (is that a verb now?) Multi tasking with iPads and iPods while balancing a Starbucks’ double shot mocha latte.

Yesterday, I sat behind an automobile after the light turned green for so long I swear the driver could have been baking a casserole!

All I can say is thank god that whenever confined to a small space, looking out of the front window is still a common human habit… and something that most drivers still like to do! Yikes! Where would  we all be without curiosity and the basic instinct to wonder where we’re going?


15 Responses to “Driving Miss Distracted”

  1. Jae April 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Yikes. Way too many accidents thanks to attention on the phone vs. the road. I try and save any phone business for the stoplights. (And sometimes it puts the lights on your side in a sense. If I’m trying never to look at my phone except at stoplights they all seem to suddenly be green, lol). I’m grateful, like you for the curiosity. In fact, a certain tree in the fall along my drive inspired a short story I wrote. It was one of those rainbow fall trees, with red, yellow, green and a little orange. I enjoy looking at nature too much not to look around. I think you’re exactly right, we can miss so much if we allow ourselves to become too engrossed in technology.

    Clever title, btw! 😀

  2. sunshinemoonlightboogie April 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    It’s actually sad, imo. Nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait until you are out of the car. What if you are killed or kill someone else as a result of distracted driving? What could be worth that?

  3. makagutu April 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Cars must have ovens and coffee dispensers this days!

  4. Barbara Backer-Gray April 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    It’s scary, all this texting. Yesterday I was driving behind a girl who kept looking down. I could tell from her rear view mirror. Obviously texting. We were standing at a traffic light, but I made sure to keep my distance afterward. Here in Texas, a bill to ban texting while driving passed both the house and the senate . . . only to be vetoed by our fearless leader, Governor Rick Perry. Oh boy.

  5. theohlee April 24, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    My dad loved to drive, too. But he hated the radio. Like Schrodinger’s Cat, he is dead now. Not because of driving or listening to the radio, though. He smoked too much and it eventually caught up with him. He used to take me fishing and I miss that. It’s illegal where I live to talk on the phone while you drive, unless you have one of those earpieces. I don’t have an earpiece, so I don’t talk on the phone while I drive. That’s okay with me because I don’t like talking on the phone anyway. I can never think of anything to say. I sit there silently with the phone to my ear until the person on the other end says “Hello? Are you there?” “Yes. I’m here,” I say. I like your writing. I look forward to reading your next piece.

    • gpicone April 24, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

      It is illegal to talk on the phone here too but have you ever found yourself behind a policeman? They have a laptop and more computer hardware than I have ever seen in a car before! Most of them keep only one eye on the road now.

      • theohlee April 25, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

        I know what you mean. The police were following me yesterday but I managed to lose them.

  6. tric April 24, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    i’m fascinated when I am a passenger in a car and they are using sat nav. The sign clearly tells them which way to go but they are so grateful for their sat nav!

  7. TamrahJo April 25, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    I love to drive – I mean, really drive – and perhaps that’s what missing – maybe if everyone could remember the thrill they got, just driving, when they first got their license, maybe, less of this stuff would need to be legislated and regulated….

    Some comedian, I can’t remember which one, was doing a spiel about the Autobahn – and how if you get on it, you better be ready for speed – and how German car makers ponder, “Cup holder? What is this cup holder you speak of?…. WHAT?!? You drink in your car! Are you an idiot?!?”

    And the requisite fall out when you manage to spill hot coffee on your lap when traveling at 180 mph….

    LOL 🙂

  8. Bill Jones, Jr. April 25, 2013 at 1:42 am #

    Sadly, my radio has been replaced by streaming music through the phone. One day, I forget the cell phone, and forgot how to work the radio. I do remember the days of listening to Motown on AM radio and haven’t no idea what the words were, because we couldn’t hear it too clearly. Ah, the good old days.

  9. Jixi Fox April 25, 2013 at 3:50 am #


  10. chebandbecky April 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    I usually honk if I see them swerving. Mostly it works…It is Illegal in Ontario to talk or text while driving, but no-one seems to get charged.

    • rmekrnl April 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      Unfortunately, statistically, they won’t have to be charged — they will instead be injured or killed in a traffic accident of their own making. Problem is, so may other people who were paying attention to what they were doing while driving a 3,000-pound, potentially lethal machine.

  11. Alesia April 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    I was hit at a stop light several yrs ago. Thank God no was hurt except that woman’s breakfast which was all over her car! I mean it made me hungry to see that eggs, bacon , pancakes, biscuit and gravy all over the inside of her car!

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