Don't text and drive
November 11, 2008 | I was running late to work and
in a rush. I jumped into my white Mazda 626, started
my car and pulled out of my driveway onto the road.
As had become my routine, I pulled out my black Motorola
flip phone and decided to send a text.
I opened to the texting screen, then briefly glanced
up at the road. I used my left hand to steer my car
and my right had to type my text message. I looked down
at my cell phone to make sure the message I was typing
correctly said, "Hey how is your day," then glanced
up at the road.
In the middle of my life-altering text message I looked
up, just in time to see a stop sign zooming past on
I plowed through the stop sign, not even attempting
to stop. My heart started to race. I quickly looked
around to see if anyone had witnessed what I had done.
I saw a Ford truck about 35 yards off heading my way.
The driver noticed my cell phone in hand and had his
hands raised in disgust at what I had just done. His
head was shaking in a way that said to me, "Put the
cell phone down and drive."
Now I am saying to everyone what I felt that unhappy
man in the truck said to me, "PUT THE CELL PHONE DOWN
According to an article in US News in February, 20
percent of drivers are sending or receiving a text message
while behind the wheel. That number jumps to 66 percent
when the driver is between the ages of 18 to 24. There
have been some horrific accidents recently in which
many people were either injured, or lost their lives
due to someone's texting while driving and not paying
as much attention to the road as they should.
We all like to believe we devote the same amount of
attention to the road when we are texting as we do when
we aren't, but that cannot be true. Distracted drivers
are the cause of 80 percent of accidents and 65 percent
of near accidents, according to an article by ABC News.
This article also states that teenagers' No. 1 distraction
After running that stop sign I immediately began to
think of how the situation could have been extremely
worse. What if I had hit that truck? What if the truck
had hit me? What if there had been a child crossing
the road to get to school? What if, what if, what if?
We don't ask ourselves that question enough.
Texting while behind the wheel has got to stop. I
can bet most of us are guilty of texting while driving,
but we have to find a way to stop. There is enough to
focus on while driving -- for example, changing lanes
correctly, using blinkers, watching for stop signs and
being aware of what other drivers are doing. All of
these responsibilities make driving a multitasking event.
Don't add texting on top of it.
I learned my lesson about texting and driving the
hard way, but I was lucky I didn't cause any life altering
damage. I didn't hit a car, I didn't take anyone's life,
but it scared me enough to stop my bad habit. Three
weeks after running that stop sign, I can honestly say
I haven't texted while driving.
Learn from my mistake; don't wait until something
terrible happens to you. Put down the cell phone and
drive. Pay attention to what you are doing.