Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Defensive Jumping? And Distracted Driving
After dinner, I went out to pick something up from the store. I was just driving along ..maybe on the highway a half mile when this car seemed to turn sharply toward me from the other line. Had the driver not caught their mistake, they would've slammed right into me in the front driver's corner/partial head on part of my car. Thank God, as quickly as the car seemed to turn sharply toward me ..it turned sharply back. Obviously, the driver was distracted with something.
I had an odd reaction though. It caught me by surprise and all happened so quickly. I wasn't driving defensively, but more in autopilot mode.
Even though my hands were on the wheel ...I don't think I was prepared to turn sharply away from the car ...maybe I would have. But ..if I had and he kept coming ..would he then have hit broadside and is that worse?
Instead ...with sudden fear ...I inhaled sharply and quickly lifted my left leg up toward me, while simultaneously leaning back into the seat.
I never reacted like that before.
All I can think is that my instinct was to jump out of the way.
It just strikes me odd in that it seems instead of defensive driving ...I'd do defensive jumping in the car to get out of the way.
Another thing. A few nights ago, I was with a group of friends. We were discussing driving safety and cell phones - talking/texting. A couple of guys stated they can and do drive with their legs - thighs/knees I think. I questioned the safety of it and they reiterated they were good at it. And another friend told me her brother drives with his leg out the window. WHYYY? And I know way can it be safe to drive with upper legs. They do it with cruise control and can turn that way. And do this because hands busy. I bet they are texting. Just a guess.
And a couple challenged me because I put lipstick on or used to put mascara on when driving. that was bad - the mascara and I've stopped that. Stupid actually. But, lipstick? I don't take my eyes off the road and feel for it and put on without looking. I am more distracted when looking in mirrors at other drivers or when changing settings on the radio. I also drink when driving. And have eaten. Not in a long time with food though. But ..I don't look down. I just grab the bottle or cup. And I have talked on phone, but in slow traffic/traffic light and I get off asap. N-e-v-e-r chat on phone. I also do not answer it. Maybe I am justifying my own behavior, but I really think lipstick compared to turning to look at the kids or pick things up you drop, etc. is so easy. I do not have to see to apply it. When I worked in LifeLine - reading maps when driving - that was bad. I confess to that.
And you may remember the post, "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" ...in which I wrote about totaling a car when I was 17 and we all should've died, but miraculously all pretty much walked away from it. So ...I am not a saint when driving.
But, I am much more mindful. I wish we all could be more mindful when driving. No one ever plans an accident. but ...accidents DO happen. Anyone who has ever been in an accident knows how quickly they can happen. And I can't tell you how many times, while I worked in ED registration, that patients told me they felt so stupid over what happened and didn't have to happen. (They didn't plan the accident.) And not just in cars ...but all kinds of things. Of course hind sight being 20-20, it all seems clear after things happen. And even me - I know to drive defensively and I was on autopilot.
I honestly do not understand what is so very important that one HAS to answer their cell phone right away. Why can't your response be after you've stopped driving? Just pull over. Just think of it as something to look forward too. :) And seriously, if you think of the stupid things that get texted - okay funny ...but is it really worth killing yourself or innocent people? Or becoming disabled? And all the legal and financial fallout that will occur from that?
I tell my kids, "Don't let the phone own you. YOU own the phone."
On a lighter note, at least the ride home was uneventful. And the full moon was so pretty, I decided to take the longer way home so I could see the country side under the moonlight. The only thing more beautiful would be moonlight on snow. I LOVE snow light nights. :)