Okay, I think it's nearly time for me to change my intro to these postings. But not right now. So it's once again a Friday, and once again I've heard talks of a party. However, at the time I'm typing this, I am paying attention to a show about the science of traffic. This is just gonna be fuel for the fire for me. Considering I posted a video out of Whales, a PSA (Public Safety Awareness) video, so it was not a "real" incident, on facebook yesterday. Most likely along with thousands of other people. The result of this was opening a dialogue with the younger resident of this house, about driving safety and awareness. So that was a good thing, I hope. While I could treat this like a true blogger's blog, and go into a lecture on driving, I don't think I will.
Okay, it's now Saturday. The party was kinda lame last night, but it was cool to see my old friend Ashley for the first time in a few years. Unfortunately by the time she arrived, I was pretty well in the tank. It would have been nice to have been able to actually talk with her, but as I said,I was drunk, and she was bothered by all the cigarette smoke lingering in the house. So that didn't work out so well. Damn, maybe next time. Bored with the goings on in the house after Ashley left, I just went to bed. I am such a party animal.
At some point during the night, and during a rather lengthy (and ultimately pointless, other than my joy of driving) drive today, I have changed my mind. I said I wasn't going to be a typical blogger, but I am now going to blog about driving and the things that seem to govern most "bad" driver's habits.
When I see an accident, a few things go through my mind; Hoping everybody is alright, wondering what caused the crash, wondering about all the aftermath, being glad it wasn't me (again), and wondering how so many people somehow got their hands on a drivers license. This all happens in a matter of a few seconds, which is also about the same amount of time it takes for an collision to become an immediate possibility and then to happen.
So many of these incidents could have been avoided if the drivers had been paying attention to the things outside of their car, more than what was happening inside their car. Things like texting, searching for something on an IPod (or radio), talking on the phone (hands free or otherwise, it makes no difference in safety), checking an email, arguments with other passengers, trying to find a CD on the floor/seat, and my personal favorite: talking on the phone and folding laundry. All of these things happen every day, and every night. It boggles my mind really. I had an epiphany back in 1997, during a drivers ed class. There is always a destination in mind when you get into a car. Always. (Maybe not the most life changing epiphany, but it has saved me often enough to consider it a life extending epiphany.) It doesn't make any difference whether that destination is work, school, the store, the mall, a friends house, a lovers house, your house, the court house, or even if the point of the drive IS the drive itself. The point of the drive is to get to a place, and usually expecting to return to where you left from. Why in the world would anybody want to risk not making it to that destination? Why do people allow themselves to act like their car is merely an extension of their living room? Are people really that self absorbed?
I started taking driving very seriously back then, and still do today. I cannot claim that I am a perfect driver, or that I'm not guilty of receiving/sending the occasional text, making or taking a phone call, or trying to find a CD. And there have been some close calls in the time I've spent on the roads. But my car has never been anything more than a car. A vehicle to transport my lazy ass several miles a hell of a lot faster than I can walk or run. Cars are heavy, and can be quite lethal when mishandled. I think a lot of people forget about that last part. Sure, most accidents that happen are not lethal, or always involving serious injury. However, even when you can walk away under your own power, there is still one thing that is true: it didn't need to happen in the first place.
Most accidents are a direct result of some distraction. More often than not the distraction had absolutely nothing to do with any part of the car or the drive. Okay, driving on a country road in the middle of the night when there are no street lights to be found can make driving rather hazardous. When you encounter such a road, it's better to slow down a bit, and pay attention to nothing but the world outside your car. Anyway, barring that one example, most collisions don't need to happen. If you are behind the wheel of a car, and paying attention to the road and all the things on it and next to it, you can avoid a large majority of possible calamities. There is no need to follow so close to the car in front of you. There is usually no need to make any use of your phone while driving. Having a stereo is a must for me, but it doesn't need to be the focus of any given drive (I put my IPod on shuffle, and then push play before putting my car in gear). Having deep conversation, or arguing heavily are things that probably shouldn't happen when you are driving. On that last one, emotions have no place when you are behind the wheel. If an emotion has no relevance to the task at hand, it's gotta go. When an emotion occurs as a direct result of something that just happened while driving, don't let it get the best of you. This is important, very very important, and not always easy to do, but worth a shot at least.
Driving is some serious business, never to be taken lightly, or ever taken for granted. It doesn't matter if you drive a super car, or a jalopy, a car is a mode of transportation, not a toy. If you have a super car, take it to a race track before unleashing it, not your local highway or side street. And for the love of driving people, don't drink and then drive!!! And I should say, driving while exhausted really is just as dangerous as imbibing and driving! It shouldn't be so hard to pay attention to your surrounding, especially while driving.
With that said, a little routine maintenance on your car does wonders for how well it takes you places, remember that. Oh yeah, turn signals and safety belts are standard on every vehicle for a reason people, and they are very easy to use.
Safe travels y'all!