Sure, we all had a time in our teenage years where we exuded an air of invincibility. I get that, but I do not believe that I ever thought that DRIVING WITHOUT LOOKING was something that was safe, or possible, to do. Why not just run with scissors and skydive without a parachute while you are at it?
I was driving down 167th Street between LaGrange and 108th Avenue. This particular stretch of road is two lane, making it difficult to get out of the way of oncoming traffic if need be. All of a sudden a young lady, believing she was in fact one of the special breed of super people who can drive while staring at her phone and texting, came completely over into my lane forcing me onto the grassy shoulder. I looked right at her as she was just a few feet away from me and she looked at me with a look that said “Oh crap, I just remembered I was driving!” So sorry to disturb your texting, dear. She was lucky today that she was not passing someone like herself that was distracted by texting as well. That would have been messy.
What can we do, as parents, to help our kids understand that texting while driving is not only something that is impossible to do safely, but deadly? I guess the most important thing we can do is talk to our own children about texting while driving in hopes that at least some of what we say will sink in while passing into one ear and out the other.
I have heard that there are apps available for download that restrict the texting feature on phones when the phone is in a moving vehicle using a connection to the phone’s GPS. This seems rather big brothery if you ask me, but may be necessary if parents see fit.
This wasn’t my first experience with a texting teen driver. One girl thought that I had inconvenienced her quite badly by sitting at a red light while she approached behind me at about 35 mph, not noticing the red light nor my stopped car. I saw her approaching and sounded my horn in hopes she would look up from her texting and she did, just in time to slam on her brakes and skid to a stop behind me. She then pulled up next to me and proceeded to scream something at me with an evil glare. Thank God my windows were up and the radio on or the kids could have learned some new colorful vocabulary. I am still trying to figure out why I was to blame, at least in her head.
According to one study, people who engaged in texting or reading a text while driving were SIX TIMES more likely to crash than someone who was drunk or high on marijuana. This was mind-boggling to read.
Please people, teach your kids to practice safe text.