Friday, October 12, 2007

Driving Efficiently, Not Smartly

Uh, 30 Rock and the Office were on. Hence the repost. I hope I shall be forgiven. I think. I'm kinda tired...

I read an interesting Reuters story online this morning while driving into work. The story caught my attention since I just wrote about drivers who don’t pay attention to what their satellite navigation systems are telling them to do. This story says that a survey was recently released showing that 81 percent of our fellow Americans (but it’s certainly not any of us reading or writing this) perform other tasks while driving. While I tend to view it as driving efficiently, others view it as not exactly the safest of driving practices.

The study by Nationwide Mutual Insurance says that drivers eat, mess with their music, do makeup, shave, exchange seats with other passengers, watch movies and yes – nurse their children while driving. Although in the case of the baby nurser, I don’t know how much driving they’d actually be doing. That’s downright illegal, I think. If you are nursing a child while driving then you either have amazing bodily contortion, stretching ability (of which I do not wish to further discuss) or you’ve taken the child out of their car seat, and they are stretched across your lap in the front seat. If that mom (I don’t think I have to state why I know it’s a mom and not a dad for obvious reasons) has to slam on the brakes, that’ll sadly be her baby’s last supper. It’s ‘utterly’ wrong…sorry.

Doing the other stuff while driving is certainly not bright, but we all know it happens every day. Here in Southern California, I’m not sure that efficient driving (my term only) is that dangerous for the simple fact that most of us get onto our lovely congested highways and never get into third gear, provided we’re lucky enough to get into second. If you are a regular participant in the hell that is known as commuting (defined as driving two-hours one way over a distance that should only take 30 minutes), then you could easily set up and play an entire game of Monopoly with a commuter in the lane next to you or a fellow passenger without every endangering yourselves. OK, I’m exaggerating. The game wouldn’t be monopoly; it would be Pictionary.

I don’t feel that American drivers should be accused of watching movies while driving. What did everyone expect when they started installing DVD players into our cars and SUVs in the first place? They probably don’t think we’re using our cup holders, moon roofs or seat warmers, either. I’ve tried to shave with my electric razor once, but it wasn’t a very close shave, so I won’t bother trying that again. I see ladies applying mascara all the time while driving. Do you know how tempting it is to pull up along side of them and gesture that they missed a spot? My only concern is that their insurance might find me at fault when they slam into the back of a minivan because they aren’t paying attention.

When I was younger, I only changed seats with other passengers while stopped at a red light. I feel so stupid that it never occurred to me that we could engage in that game while moving. I’ll have to try it because it sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it might take too long getting Lucy and Ethel out of their car seats to participate. Maybe I’ll grab the company’s carpool van for the day.

It appears that the things we’re most guilty of while driving would have to be eating or car stereo related. Why just last night coming home from dinner, I mastered the art of driving in the dark on the freeway in 50 mile per hour wind gusts while changing CDs on my stereo. I should also admit that I got extra style points since I had to bend down and pick up the six CDs I dropped while trying to do all of this. I’m proud to admit that I only swerved once and my tires only hit the lane’s reflector bumps; they never actually crossed into the other lane. Now try that at home.

Oops, green light. I gotta go…

10 comments:

Odat said...

Yeah I guess I'm guilty of the CD thing...but nothing else...oh, ok maybe putting lipstick on, but that's it....oh wait, maybe I'll answer my phone but I'll hang up right away....but I never eat while I'm driving... ;-)
Have a great weekend!
Peace

best bud's wife said...

Best Bud once bragged about his early driving days in the stick-shift Ford Fiesta when he was eating a Big Mac, a large Coke, and a soft serve cone, without the benefit of cup holders. I'm glad he lived!

Patti said...

you're scaring me Michael.

have a safe weekend

kat said...

HAHAHAHAH! GREAT ending. Very nice touch there at the end! I do numerous things while driving as you know. It's hard though. Too much shit to be done and not enough time in the day to do it. When I am alone in my car I hae enough peace and quiet to get things done that I need to do.

Have I read a book while driving? Maybe. I won't admit to it though.

Ralph said...

Well at least you weren't burning the CDs while you were driving. Kind of reminds me of the old Grey Poupon ads where the Rolls-Royce driver passes the jar to the other...

Patti said...

Michael,
Come on over and pick up a special award, from one Capricorn to another.

Ho Ho Ho

Tink said...

Where do cell phones fit in here? LOL.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

You crack me up; ergo, CLICK, seatbelt fastened.

Candace said...

I used to nurse while RIDING, but never driving. Even that required minor contortionism and was NOT comfortable, but desparate times call for desparate measures as they say. Fortunately that was only required on a couple of occasions. And the careseats and seatbelts were always engaged. :-P

I think the capper for us was upon our intro to CA when we passed a one-armed driver who was using his ponly arm to hold his cell phone. :-P (Maybe I've shared that before, but it really made an impression ^_^ )

meleah rebeccah said...

I dont get ANYTHING done when 30 Rock & The Office are on!

However a REPOST is better than NO POST.