7 Things To Not Do While Driving

As the birthday bonanza rages on, I wanted to dip back and share one of my favorite posts (with a few minor tweaks).  I wrote it in 2010 on the day after my last car accident, before knowing the life altering impact being rear-ended would have.  I love the post because it was written in my fallback spirit of being able to find humor in crazy life moments.  Enjoy!  

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Image Source: L-Rev at lazyrevolution.com

Yesterday, I was rear-ended while waiting to turn left at a green light.  I found it fascinating when the adjuster asked me today what the nimrod who hit me was doing behind me.  Um, I was looking forward versus studying traffic via my rearview mirror (though I’m sure I’ll be doing that from now on). 

I can’t even tell you where the hitter came from or why he had an issue seeing me sitting there with my left flicker on.  This got me to thinking about some other folks I have viewed doing questionable things while behind the wheel.   

  1. Cry – I get the thinking that the confines of a car is a relatively private place.  Unless running carpool shuffling little tykes or being kind riding others, no one will hear you.  And you can pretty much count on other drivers to be absorbed in their own little universes that they won’t see you.  But is being a blurry-eyed, snotty monster really a safe prospect going 35+ mph?
  2. Sex Acts – I’ve seen two drivers engaged in instances of an oral kind while their vehicles were moving.  Can you pull over?  I wanted to arrest them myself after dodging the repeated swerves into my lane.  The day I see someone sitting in a driver’s lap, I’m beaming myself up to the Enterprise.
  3. Applying Mascara –  I saw a lady doing this one morning.  Come on, really?  Stab your eye much?
  4. Sleep – Ever look over at someone at a light and see them rocked back on the headrest for a power nap?  Yeah, not the most comforting feeling that they need some nap time.
  5. Online Activity – Are you really so important that your response to XYZ messages is urgent?  Unless you are the President or another country leader, then un-uh nada on whoever you think you are.  I hear that police are catching a good number of people doing this.  What jerks.  Those drivers should be tasered.
  6. Auditioning for a Nascar Racing Position – Aggressive drivers are selfish individuals.  Yeah I said it.  See my question above regarding are you really that important.  Take your unprocessed anger and emotional issues and get off the road.
  7. The Highway Crawl – I get why you’re scared.  Seeing the demons that possess some of your neighbors when they get behind the wheel would scare anyone.  But when you slow down to a crawl–I’m talking significantly under the speed limit–you’ll just rev the aggressors up more.  Actually, that one even tweaks me.  Having to break hard coming up on someone driving 40 in a 60 zone, with no traffic in front of them, is dangerous.  If you are really scared, just don’t do it.  Map out an alternative route and go crawl over there. 

Do you have any driving horror stories to share?  Anything else we should avoid while being behind the wheel?  Any on the list that you’ve committed?  You can tell us.  Confession is good for the soul. 🙂

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29 Responses to 7 Things To Not Do While Driving

  1. My husband drives a lot and he has so many horror stories about drivers. If he were king for a day, I think he would arrest bad drivers and place them in a dungeon. However, I am a (former!) bad driver so he keeps his rudest comments to himself.

    So sorry that you got rear-ended. I don’t guess i knew that and that you were still suffering from its consequences.

    • Thanks, Bridgette. Yes, I was slammed in September 2010 and am still in a bit of treatment limbo (a nice word for it). I’ve learned to not let it lead my days now. There are modifications I’ve made and I hope I can get effective treatment in the future. Oh and I’m with your husband. I’d have a ton of people arrested.

  2. One of my fav posts of yours! What’s astounding is how many of these activities people actually do while driving. Insanity! I’ve caught people putting on make-up, reading the paper, texting, talking on the phone, and SHAVING?!?!?! Nice that they take the safety of others on the road so seriously…not!
    I usually follow-up such sightings with a display of a nasty finger gesture and some pretty apparent mouth signals as well.

    • Shaving! Oh now that is madness. I don’t get it either, Natalie. Don’t they even care about their own safety? Driving to me is relaxation and thinking time. No way I want to multitask like that.

  3. Lesann says:

    Your list got me to thinking about all the things I’ve seen people do while driving and it’s amazing there aren’t more accidents. Really. I log a lot of miles and continue to be stunned by how careless some drivers can be – forgetting perhaps that a vehicle can easily become a weapon.

    I know some of my personal experiences have affected the way I travel, the people I interact with…I hope your mobility is not permanentaly impacted by the carelessness of others. Dance it out, baby. Dance it out…

    • I’m with you, Lesann. My personal experiences have changed the way I drive as well. In certain weather and at certain times, I will not get on the highway. Knowing what an accident at a low speed can do in terms of damage and injuries, I try to keep myself out of the way of potential hazards. I love to drive so I fight the urge to go live in a cocoon, but I get it. I’ve seen people doing nutty things speeding past me on the highway. Hey folks, if it is icy and the other people are going slow, maybe just maybe, you should too. Egads.

  4. Yeah, the mascara one is insane. When I hung out with Deaf people, I’d see them talking, aka signing, while driving. I’ve been told they’re just good at it because they have to adapt, but it still scares me!

    Okay, confession. I once tried to finish the last two pages of a really good book at a stop light…without coming to a complete stop first. *shame faced* Nothing bad happened! But I swear it will never happen AGAIN.

    • You were reading while driving? Ha ha. Bad, Angela, bad. 🙂

      Wow, the people signing while driving is concerning. When I’m driving, I’ll talk to someone in the car, but I won’t turn my head to look at them. I’ve ridden with people who are animated and looking to the side/backseat to talk. That gives me pause because someone can do something nutty in front of you in an instant.

  5. People forget they’re driving a weapon – cars are deadly instruments. in Alberta, we have distracted driving laws which has put a stop to lots of things. but yesterday I saw 2 women talking on their cells. A it’s dangerous; B it’s against the law…what don’t you understand?

  6. I’m so glad you re-posted this! I am with you on all points! I especially love the last one. 🙂

    • Ha ha, Darlene. I apply that last one to myself all the time. There are certain highways I won’t get on or certain times I avoid areas and go back roads. If I’m nerved or not feeling well, that to me is a distraction and I’ll go an optional route.

  7. I would like to add “read the newspaper” to this list.

    Yes, I actually saw it.

    While in driving school, no less.

    Though I would amend the crawl to being more acceptable if, say, there’s a blizzard outside. Nothing more fun than the crazies in this state who forget how to drive in the snow if it’s been so much as a week since the last flake fell out of the sky, and they act like they must drive as fast as they can to avoid the coming snowpocalypse. (Also, many thanks to those folks riding my bumper in the ice at night WITH THEIR BRIGHTS ON – yes, I just let off my gas – know why? I CAN’T SEE ANYMORE! Yeesh. Yes, my rearview can be flipped to cut the glare – my side mirrors can’t! Man somebody needs to invent something that does that for you…)

    • Wow, Karyl, the newspaper? Now that is bad. And you have a point on the crawl if it is bad weather. I just had a yahoo cut in tight on me this morning going off an exit ramp. Rather than wait for another car, he cuts in and has to then skid over towards the berm because it is in freezing rain and he’s a step away from hitting me in the back. Nice dude.

  8. I kept nodding while reading each of those points. So true – and, unfortunatelly, I see them happening everywhere.

  9. Right on, Barb, on all counts. There are some shocking drivers out there. Tailgating is something that makes me crazy and I’m sure it’s getting worse. My other pet peeve are speeding truck drivers who think they are the kings of the road. We often do the drive from Toronto to Florida and the bad driving of the truckers on I-95 and I-75 can turn it into the drive from hell!

    • I’ve found some of those southern interstates to be the worst, Patricia. If I’ve done a drive from Ohio to the Carolinas or the Carolinas over to Georgia, I can’t tell you how many trucks have either tailed me to madness or nearly run me off the road changing directly into my lane (where I have to break hard or swerve off). Some of them are like bullies. Criminal.

  10. It is so crazy what some people will do while driving. I actually saw a guy shaving once ~ not with an electric shaver, with foam and a razor! Yikes.

    Here in California, it’s illegal to drive and text – even if you’re stopped at a red light. I think that’s cool, even though most people ignore the law (I don’t). I figure nothing is more important than my life or those around me that I have to read/answer a text while driving.

    Thanks for the great post, Barbara! Hopefully people will stop being ninnies while they drive.

  11. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Barbara, this is a great reminder. I don’t fit any of these profiles, but I too have seen my share of inappropriate behavior.

  12. Marcia says:

    I once was in the left lane on a 4-lane road. there was a school bus in front of me that had stopped to wait for traffic to pass so they make a left turn. I stopped behind the bus, turned to my right to see that the lane was clear and I pulled out to go around the bus…and ran smack into a car who was at a dead stop next to the bus! Of course, it was my fault. However, when asked by the cop why he was stopped in the right lane, he answered “because you’re supposed to stop when a school bus does”. The cop just shook his head and I said, in my most annoyed tone, “You only stop for a school bus when they are dropping off and picking up children! NOT when they are making a left turn!” And then there was the time an old lady stopped at a traffic light with me stopped behind her, decided she needed to back up. Only god knows why. She backed up right onto the hood of my VW. Oh, there are more…so many more!
    Keep your eyes on all of your mirrors, Barb!

    • Okay, I’m giggling at the story of you going around the bus, Marcia. Some drivers do make up their own rules. At least I hope you were pulling out at a slower speed to not cause too much damage or injury. And the random backers freak me out too! I was sitting in a parking lot a few weeks ago and a guy in the row in front of me looked back at me there, then got into his car. He next proceeds to back straight out and almost straight into my light. I’m blowing the horn and he’s still backing. What the? Then he stops right at the edge of my light and looks at me like I’m wrong. If I hadn’t been sitting there, I bet he would have hit me and left.

  13. Elena Aitken says:

    Love it!! I used to be able to multi-task like an expert behind the wheel. Back in the day, I’d smoke, (I no longer smoke) drink a coffee, talk on the phone AND drive stick. (I also no longer do all that stuff behind the wheel.
    And then when the twins were little, I was brilliant at recovering soothers with one arm wrenched behind me while navigating the freeway systems.
    Recently our province instituted a distracted driving law. It’s really cut down on the people curling their hair in rush hour. But the people secretly texting while trying to hide their phone from view, those incidents have really gone up.

  14. Pingback: Guest post by Barbara McDowell: Rehab for writers in hiding – Natalie Hartford

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