Michael Allen: “You are not a good driver.”
You are not a good driver. I know you think you are, which is how I know you aren’t. I know, I know, you’re a great driver; it’s the other drivers on the road that are the problem. If they’re slower than you they’re idiots. If they’re faster than you they’re speed demons. Hey, you don’t text and drive, right? But that’s not the only distraction. You can’t fix your hair and drive safely (we see you looking in that mirror). You can’t talk on your hands-free phone without being distracted (we see you yelling, or are you talking to yourself?). You can’t eat that fast food at 45, 55 or 65 miles per hour (we see you looking down to see if that grease hit your pants after that last bite). You can’t listen to music and stay focused on the road (we all see you singing; you aren’t making it to American Idol!). You can’t lecture your kids who are in the backseat and pay attention to the road (we all see your eyes in the rearview mirror, not on the road). Does that mean you shouldn’t do any of these things ever? Of course not. But not realizing these are distractions is dangerous. We must realize all distractions for what they are and treat them with the respect they deserve; avoid them if possible and exercise extreme caution if necessary. The point is that if you think you are a good driver you get complacent, get distracted. Driving is dangerous business. You’re hurtling at 70 miles per hour in two or more tons of steel, aluminum and plastic. You science types can do the math and tell me what sort of impact that creates against various objects. But for us non-science types, it’s a lot! And practice “aware driving.” How do you do that? Well, make it a game. Pay close attention to the other vehicles on the road. Watch for other drivers (and pedestrians) who are distracted. Look for people who are texting, or putting on makeup, or singing, or reading the newspaper! Watch for vehicles that are drifting in (or out!) of the lane and try to figure out what is distracting them. It’s fun and sometimes scary, but it gets you in the habit of being aware of your surroundings. But don’t let that become a distraction either! Now, eyes on the road!