September is Distracted Driving Awareness month and in its honour, we recently asked our readers on Facebook to describe the worst cases of distracted driving they’ve witnessed while out on the roads.
Some of the responses were truly mind-boggling. Some were so outrageous that they were actually humorous.
But above all, for me, they were pretty discomforting. I started thinking that maybe I was better off not knowing what behaviours my fellow drivers are engaging in while I’m on the road.
Some of worst cases reported to us by Campbell Riverites included a driver who had a magazine spread across her steering wheel while driving down the highway, a couple watching a DVD, a lady eating a plate of spaghetti, a mean eating a bowl of what appeared to be cereal, a woman reading a novel at a stop light, a lady knitting while driving, another curling her hair while behind the wheel and in maybe the worst case yet – a driver performing a ‘two-handed zit squeeze.’ I probably really didn’t need to know about that last one!
But yet on some level we all need to be aware because sadly, there are still drivers out there not getting the message that distracted driving kills. In fact, it is the second-leading cause of motor vehicle fatalities in B.C., after speeding. Distracted driving kills more people in our province, on average, than impaired driving.
According to distracteddrivingkills.ca in B.C., between 2010 and 2015, approximately 78 fatalities each year were due to distracted driving.
The website also reports that your eyes are off the road while texting for, on average, five seconds.
My sister and her boyfriend were recently rear-ended while stopped at a red light by a driver who was texting on her phone with her child in the backseat.
And if that wasn’t frustrating enough, the driver, after speaking with my sister’s boyfriend, then proceeded to drive off and resume her texting.
Apparently some people never learn, despite fines and penalties for distracted driving now at $368 and four penalty points.
Perhaps the best way to drive home the message is to have drivers speak to each other about the dangers.
Really, it’s just common sense. When you’re driving your vehicle, you should be paying attention to the road and what’s going on around you.
So the next time you pick up your phone to just quickly read that text or reply to that message, think about it – do you really want to run the risk of injuring, or worse – killing – an innocent person because of your actions? People tend to think, ‘oh that would never happen to me, I’m careful and I pay attention’ but all it takes is a few seconds of having your eyes off the road.
Just look out the side window for a few quick seconds and see how quickly your vehicle starts to drift off in the direction you’re looking.
It’s scary. We all need to pay attention, put down the phone, that novel or magazine and yes, that plate of spaghetti.