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 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" 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 mindfulI 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. :)


Rositta said...

Defensive driving means never jumping out of the way to the right. If anything go to the other lane. Here talking on a cellphone is prohibited except with hands free. It's also against the law to play wit a gps or put on
makeup. Here they no longer call them "accidents" rather they are referred to as crashes. We are constantly told that there is no such thing as an accident. Happy driving and pay attention :)... Ciao

SeaSpray said...

Hi Rositta - Are you saying actually go into other lane to avoid worse accident. Is that because they are going in yours and so may soften blow if time to cross over?

I've heard people are still distracted with head sets too. Oprah had a educational and alarming video on her site about cell phone use. Don't know if still there. Texting is supposed to be 9 times worse than drunk driving which says a lot about danger. Everywhere I drive ..I see people on phones.

Yes ..I guess lipstick is wrong. But seems so natural and easier than a phone.

I think it was Freud who said "There are no accidents." Of course insurance industry and police see the recklessness all the time.

I hope you are well. Thanks for stopping by Rositta. :)

I will put the lipstick away. Actually, using my phone logic ..I can also wait until I stop and then apply it. Thank you.

Rositta said...

Hi, it's what I was taught years ago. The theory is it you make a sharp turn to the right you will roll your vehicle. If you go to the left you are going more straight into a ditch and of course it only works if there is no other oncoming traffic. I've never had to use it fortunately and instinctively I'm not sure I would. Take care...

SeaSpray said...

Oh silly me. I thought you meant if oncoming as if that car had continued at me. That ,y going in their lame if they were coming in mine would avoid the worst. I misunderstood. I know we are supposed to hit an animal vs brake hard. But every time - my instinct is to brake and dodge.

One thing I almost always do is leave room between cars. Of course people cut in and I have to stop ..but I definitely don't tailgate.

Chrysalis Angel said...

Who are you hanging with, dear Seaspray? If any of my friends said they drove with their knees or thighs, I'd slap them up side their heads.

Hey, Rob is back writing! Maybe you knew. I'm just not able to keep up with everyone like I used to. I miss a lot of my friends out there. (Shout out to Rositta.)

SeaSpray said...

Hi Angel - always good to see you here. :)

The leg out window is Passions's brother - adult. And the knee;thy driving a couple of younger son's friends.

And one of them has been an EMT (took me to the ED when I had that uro relapse in 08)and has certainly been to many accidents. When younger - you think you're invincible and have forever. So many of the young adults text - of course so do others.

And I have made a conscious decision NOT to apply lipstick when driving. I still think it is nothing more than sipping water or tuning a station because I don't look, but am committing to not doing it anymore so when they come back at me with that I can say, "You were right. And now I don't anymore. I wait until I stop.

I have been wondering and meaning to e-mail. I am having computer difficulties and takes forever to open hotmail and certain things and so don't go in as often as I used to. It is in this scan mode now and takes forever to even open easier things and goes on for hours. But, it is working and so I am grateful for that. yes - I did see Rob opened and commented. I was going to tell you and didn't get to it and so I apologize for that. Glad to see he is writing again. I too have fallen behind in reading/commenting and even blogging and want to get back to it. facebook has taken some of that time. Can't believe I crossed over to the dark side there and opened the one with my real name and fam/friends including former coworkers. Seems more and more people are being open with identity.

yalkipalki said...

Glad that you have considered what happened on your drive - some things happen for a reason, this may have been a saver for something that could have happened in the future and done far worse to you.
God was sending you a message ? He doesn't care about lipstick! Does anyone? And, really if it takes so little time and concentration, couldn't you put it on as you walked along *after* parking the car? LOL.
A X the pond, there are heavy fines and jail terms if you are caught ( or worse, cause an accident or death) using a cell, or anything that takes your hands away ftom the wheel or eyes away from the road in front.
Look forward to your next post!
Also glad to see an angel around.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Yalkipalki - Thank you for your insightful comment.

YES - lipstick MATTERS! ;) Seriously ..I am giving it up in car - going cold turkey.

Absolutely can apply it at destination. Sometimes drink and mess it up and so why I do it after.

Anyway - when I urge people not to text they come back at me about lipstick and so now I can emphatically say ..NOT anymore.

I've heard of people shaving when they drive too. probably a lot of things. Thing is accidents happen so fast. Just not worth it.

PLUS ...more than ever important to drive defensively.

I just don't know how to stop myself from zoning out when driving. Used to happen all the time after work ..but I do it other times too. Sometimes I am so surprised I passed all the landmarks I did on autopilot. How did I get from point a to point c without seeing point B? The brain is fascinating.

Some states have fines, but people don't care.

What baffles me is "WHAT" is sooooooo important that a person just has to see the next notification on their phone when driving or respond to it? Slaves to their phones and they don't know it.

I mean unless Jack Bauer (24)or some emergent situation ..why?

Thanks for stopping by. Yes always nice to have an Angel around. :)

Chrysalis Angel said...

Across the pond? Sea and I had a dear friend from across the pond...we looked and looked for our friend and missed her dearly. We were so sad when we could no longer talk with our friend. Nice to see someone mention being across the pond.

SeaSpray said...

Ditto - what Angel said. :)

Riverside Toyota said...

I've never felt the need to answer the cell when driving. I always have my ringer turned off any ways. Bluetooth is just as distracting in my opinion.

SeaSpray said...

Good for you Riverside Toyota! :)

I've heard that studies show talking with a headset is distracting.

But ..I wonder if it is more distracting than car conversations, because we all talk in the car. I am thinking if it is may be because the brain is trying to focus on a voice from a concentrated area and speak into one as well. I can see where that would take more conversation vs the overall open atmosphere in a car.