Defensive Driving Class is Not Just For Drunks
I'm fessing up. Last night I sat through a 3 hour court ordered defensive driving class. My offense? No I was not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I was speeding while distracted. Actually the ticket was for speeding, but the cause of my speeding was because I was distracted by:
- The fact that I was loss
- Desparately hoping that I would recognize a familiar street namethat would trigger me to turn
- Talking with a passenger
Here's where I made my mistake. Are you ready for this? All of this could have been avoided if I had not tried to rely on memory to get me from Point A to Point B (particularly sense in the past, I had gotten lost on EVERY previous attempt to the same address). (Big dummy. I know that's what you're saying. Okay stop laughing at me). There was no excuse for me to be lost when resources such as GPS, online mapping sites, my Blackberry's mapping device, etc.
So there. I've taken complete responsibility for my actions. The fact is, no matter what happens while I'm on the road, or whose fault I claim it to be, I'm ultimately the responsible party for what takes place while I'm behind the wheel (at least that's how the law looks at it).
I got my driver's license 35 years ago. It's no wonder I remember anything contained in a manual that I haven't picked up sense then. What was really amazing to me was that while watching the four 1980's videos was how much has changed on the roads.
- Namely there are far more cars on the road than when I got my license in 1976.
- Cell phones were nearly non-existent during the first 10 years of having my driving license
- My travel path had become so familiar to me that I dont' even know that I don't pay attention
- I don't even know that I am totally ignoring signage that I've passed 100's of times before
- Everyone is an aggressive driver and EVERYONE is in a hurry
But what really stood out in my mind last night is that keeping our eyes on the road for the safety of self and others has become secondary to whatever it is that we think we have to do at the VERY moment that we think of it (even if we're driving at the time).
The sound of the instructor's voice (my instructor at 16) keeps going through my head heeding me to keep my eyes on the road and obey the rules of the road at all times. Yeah right? Well YEAH. RIGHT.
When did keeping our eyes on the road for the safety of self and others become secondary to answering the phone, sending text messges, responding to Facebook, reading email, picking up something that fell on the floor, applying makeup, changing radio stations, thinking about what's for dinner, what chore you need to do when you get to the house, etc. When you think about it, everytime you get into your car and drive, you probably are distracted by something and you probably break a rule of the road EVERYtime.
The ride home was really peaceful. My cell phone was OFF. My mind was free and clear of distractions. I was totally focused on the road and my actions while behind the wheel. Hell, I even felt safe in the car with me.
My name is Charita Cadenhead and I'm a recovering distracted driver.
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