Some believe that life imitates art. For me, life imitates news. I read a piece on the myriad of distractions that drivers face on today’s roads.
Any number of activities, both inside the vehicle and out, can cause a distraction. Some may be difficult to predict or control, such as an event along the roadside or a loose object moving inside the car.
I once watched a woman wearing a string bikini and strappy high heels ride her bicycle down Edmonton’s busy Whyte Avenue. If based on the number of rubbernecking cars that crawled dead slow to get a better gander, she was a definite distraction.
Unpredictability is key. Take your screaming baby in the back seat, or the bear that appeared before my father while heading home from the lake. Had Dad been texting or multitasking, there could have been a fatality. Actually there was – the poor bear – but it was either collide with Smoky or get creamed by the fast-moving stream of Sunday traffic behind us.
Another word of advice: if you’re a bear, please don’t lounge on the highway at dusk. If you need a ride, stick out your paw on the side of the road. Or consider a Commuter Pass with Greyhound.
Sure, some distractions you can’t anticipate, but there are others that drivers choose. It’s these choices that leave me clenching my jaw, everything from selecting music, interacting with passengers, making or receiving phone calls to studying the GPS.
To find an article on distracted driving was apropos. I’d just arrived home after witnessing a parade of distracted drivers while stopped at a red light with my husband.
Turning vehicles had the right of way, which gave me time to watch as they maneuvered the turn. None was doing the dreaded texting or phoning, although one man laughed uproariously, with his head thrown back and his eyes pinched shut. The next dude turned his car but stared at something over his shoulder.
Vehicle number three’s driver fought with a food wrapper and the woman following adjusted her scarf in the mirror. The final man to make the light was looking down and digging at something in his lap.
Very few traveling the roads today have lives so vital that they can’t pull over and park for a few minutes. Can’t they at least wait for a red light before eating that drippy fajita or mining their lap for gold? No wonder there are accidents!
Imagine an idyllic world where people simply drive the highways without distraction, eyes front and hands at ten and two on the wheel? That’s the artwork I want to create for my living room, with emphasis on “living.” And I’ll remember to sketch in the poor bear who gave his/her life – along with our car’s front end – so we could enjoy a beach day.
Ten-4, rubber ducky.
Audio story music track
“Jaw Harp You Can Dance To”
by Doug Maxwell