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Distracted driving

BY: Lawrence Darmani
Browsing on one’s phone while driving can be dangerous
Browsing on one’s phone while driving can be dangerous

When I wrote about deadly drama on our roads, I knew there would be the need for a follow-up. And, given the spate of vehicular accidents these days, the follow-up has become more needful.

It is all about common distractions that cause drivers to lose focus while driving, resulting in fatal accidents.

• Let’s start with mobile phone use while driving. Honestly, when your phone rings, the temptation to answer the call is very strong. But that momentary distraction has been found to result in serious accidents.

Not to mention the fact that it is an offence for any driver to speak on phone or send text messages while the vehicle is in motion.

• A road-safety slogan says, “If you drink, don’t drive and if you drive, don’t drink.” That is about drunk driving which we all know is fatally dangerous. But how about eating food and drinking ordinary water?

Picking up that roasted corn, munching it, and drinking water from a bottle can be highly distractive. That split-second when you don’t have both hands on the steering wheel is the moment when the vehicle skids precariously on a stick on the road.

• Writing is best done elsewhere, not while we are driving. I get a lot of ideas for articles when I am driving, but to take a pen and start jotting down the ideas while the car is moving can be a deadly distraction.

It is far better to park off the road, jot down your ideas, and then move on. Or else, keep on driving; better to lose the ideas than to lose precious lives.

• By far, the leading distraction for night drivers is when they doze off. That is why transport companies pair up drivers for long-distance journeys; when one is tired, the other can take over.

Drivers who notice they are tired, park at a safe place, and sleep for a while are wise. Refreshed, they resume driving later, strong and in firm control. Whenever we do this, we get so rested and relaxed that driving shifts from being laborious to being enjoyable.

• Men are pathetic when it comes to being distracted by women passing by. Why do we strain to look when we gain nothing from it? While we stare, we fall into gutters, bump into electric poles, and get hit by vehicles.

Turning to look is every male driver’s most dangerous source of distraction that easily causes accidents, and we will do well to avoid looking!

• I saw an appropriate notice in a bus— “Do not talk to the driver”—written on a transparent glass behind the driver’s seat. Talking to the driver distracts him from concentrating.

People argue that talking to the driver keeps him from dozing off. The argument sounds convincing, but the reality is that a tired driver will doze of whether you talk to him or not. And talking to him certainly distracts him.

• Operating the radio in the vehicle—or changing CDs—is another source of driver distraction. We do this all the time, but it is highly dangerous.
If we must operate our radio or music device while driving, utmost care must be exercised. Do this less frequently, hold the steering wheel firmly, and keep your eyes on the road.

• About the beautiful scenery we see while driving, I confess my weakness. I enjoy watching the lush greens, the trees, birds, and well-cultivated farms along the road. But it is a great source of distraction.

To help deal with this problem, I don’t look at my immediate surroundings. While looking ahead through the windscreen, I observe what I can see without taking my eyes off the road. Even then, absolute care is required.

• A lady leaves the house hurriedly. She’s late for work, yes, but of all the moments she would apply makeup and groom her hair shouldn’t be while driving; yet she does it, using the interior driving mirror.

Wouldn’t it be safer for her to wait until she arrives at her destination before completing her make-up? Then it would be the living who would admire her beauty!

• Life is full of problems that cause us to think and worry. A driver driving absent-mindedly groaned, “Why shouldn’t I worry when my wife wants divorce?”

But, whatever our problems, we would do well to curtail deep thinking (or worrying) while driving, for it distracts dangerously. When we arrive safely, we can have plenty of time to think—or worry.

Or better still, “Cast all your anxieties on the Lord, for he cares for you!” (1 Peter 5:7), for Nahum 1:7 says, “God is good!”

Driving can be fun or deadly; and being alert and focused rather than absent-minded and distracted play a major role—the good Lord being our helper.