Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dumb and dangerous things to do while driving...

I wrote a post last year about someone I saw using sign language while driving - clearly something which has to raise a few safety concerns.

It got me thinking about all of the other things that we see people doing on the roads every single day, and which we probably don't even give a second thought to anymore:

1. Talking on cellphones while driving

This one is a biggie. We have all seen people doing it, maybe you have even done it yourself and still do.
Personally I was busted once a while back for doing this, and it put a R 500 dent in my wallet and made me rethink taking that call in traffic.
Hands free kits go a good way to making this safer, but your attention is still split between driving and talking.

2. SMS'ing / Texting / BBM'ing while driving

This goes right up there with chatting on the phone, and is probably even more dangerous. Take your eyes off the road for one second and that might be all it takes to write your car (or yourself) off...

For my USA readers - SMS = Text.
Here in South Africa we generally say "send me an SMS", while you would say "text me".
It's all good!

3. Unrestrained children


Don't get me started here.
When I see young kids on the front passenger seat of a car, or sitting unrestrained on the back seat, it makes my blood boil.
More often than not, the parent will have the child on their lap, lost in some fantastical belief that their presence there will protect the child (and themselves) in the event of a prang.
To those parents (if they are indeed fit to be called parents) out there who do this - do a bit of research online about real-life crashes and find out about the forces / deceleration / physics / injuries / fatalities involved... it's scary stuff.

4. Dogs in cars

Ever seen those old ladies who drive a banger of a car with a poodle hanging out of the drivers side window?
I have - and how safe can that be? Sure, it's not always an old lady, but no matter how you swing it, a dog thrashing about in the car while you are driving is a serious safety hazard - especially if it has its head out of the drivers window trying to catch everything that passes...

5. Doing makeup while driving

This applies (mainly, I guess ;) to the ladies out there. It's a fairly common occurrence to see makeup meticulously being applied at traffic lights, much to the frustration of fellow motorists.
If you are going to drive, then drive and do nothing else but drive.
If you want to do your makeup, then sorry for you - you should either wait until you get to your destination and do it then, or you should have done it before you got into your car.

6. Eating and drinking while driving

While this might not rank up as high as talking on cellphones etc., it is still a distraction to eat or drink while driving.
I am pretty sure that we all do this at some point - I suppose it's just about doing it as safely as possible - e.g. use cup holders in your car if you have them (spilling hot coffee on your lap while driving is likely to cause some kind of extreme reaction...!)

Oh and when I say "drinking" while driving, I mean non-alcoholic beverages.
If you were thinking of alcohol, then please feel free to leave my blog immediately - anybody who thinks that drinking alcohol while driving is ok, cannot comprehend what I am on about here anyway.

7. Smoking while driving

We see this one everyday, and while I am not a smoker myself, I try not to give them too hard a time ;)
In reality though, how safe is it to have that little stompie in your hand while you drive?
It balances precariously between 2 fingers and the slightest breeze can send it flying onto your seat, which in turn can cause serious driver panic - and that's not a great thing.
Hey maybe you are a smoker and you have developed some special technique for holding the cigarette in 100% complete safety - if you have, then please feel free to comment here.

Oh and to the smokers out there reading this - next time you want to dispose of your stompies in your car, why not use your ashtray and not the road?

That's what it's there for you know, hence the name "ashtray"...

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