The Commuter Column: Distractions While Driving

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Kathleen Joyce

I find it hard sometimes to concentrate on the road when something else needs to be done. Take, for example, my hair and make-up, which I always do before I leave the house, but there are those times when I run out and say to myself, “I’ll just do it in the car.”  Sound familiar?

And by that I mean putting on make-up while I drive, which surprisingly, I’m pretty good at.  One day my mother saw me driving while I was not paying attention to the road, and she showed me an article about a woman who plowed into a tree while putting on her make-up. She died as a result of putting on some mascara before work. This got me a little scared at first, but the fear does not end there.

A few months ago my friend, we’ll name her “Ashley,” and her boyfriend “Dave,” were spending time at Ashley’s house until the time was 4:00 am. Dave was ready to drive home, which was a good half-hour away.  Ashley asked him to stay and sleep over because he was tired; yet Dave declined and drove. That night, Dave drove into a tree because he fell asleep at the wheel. Dave was lucky and walked away with a few bruises, a busted car, and an educational story.

But it’s not only putting on makeup that can lead to stories like these.  The other honorable mention I’ll make is texting while driving. Not only is this illegal, but ridiculously dangerous.  Hundreds {[I’d think thousands, is that an estimate?]} of accidents have been reported, that were caused by texting while driving, because in order to text, you need to stop watching the road and look at your phone. The funny thing that I found while researching texting while driving is that although most states have made it illegal, in some states, such as Missouri and Vermont,  people can text and drive, but they have to be over the age of 18.  On the other hand, some states have even made GPS usage illegal. {[Explain that.  Why? What states?]}

Driving can be a scary thing, when you really think about it.  Therefore, it’s vital for us, the next generation, to make a statement against these pesky – and potentially deadly – disturbances. It’s important that if you are intoxicated or tired, you should make the decision to get a ride home from somebody else you can trust. Texting can wait until you are not driving,  or if it’s really important, pull over. Reading maps, the same thing, pull over if there is any confusion. I should have woken up earlier to do my make-up or found a bathroom to do it in once I arrived at school. But is our generation in such a rush that we need to be constantly doing something? Maybe, but think about it and I’ll let you decide for yourselves. Safe driving to all and I’ll see you next week.

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