My bad habit

There are some things you don’t want to admit. The little black hair on a female’s chin that gets plucked every couple of days. The embarrassingly high credit card bill that no one else knows about.

For me? It’s messing with my phone & driving.

I KNOW it’s dumb. I know that all it takes is a split second to wreck- to not see something that if I had been paying attention could easily have been avoided. I KNOW all that. But my need to constantly be multi-tasking doesn’t shut off when I get in the car. If I just catch up on facebook & twitter happenings and glance through my email… I’ll have more time to do other stuff when I get home. (When in reality I still check my phone when I get home)

A couple weeks ago, I was driving home from work and briefly looked at my phone. I looked up and there was a deer running across the road, not 2 feet from my front bumper. I reacted too late, by the time I hit my brakes she was gone… but there was a van going the opposite way and they had completely stopped. So I knew that the deer would have been easy to see had I been paying attention. My heart was racing, my adrenaline flowing. I had almost hit ANOTHER deer with my car. In daylight this time. (As a side note - I only see deer at night usually. Why was she running across the roads in the daytime?!)

Then, just last night… something similar happened. I was looking at my phone and looked up to see a flash of brown at the very end of my front bumper. I gasped as I recognized it as a dog then held my breath for that split second that I didn’t see it. Then he reappeared on the other side of my car, a flash of brown safely on the other side. I realized how close I had come to hitting him… to killing what was probably someone’s pet. I put my phone done with a heavy heart. When our dog was hit by a car just two short months ago, was someone looking at their phone? If they had been paying attention, would it have saved our dogs life and in return all of our heart ache?

My thoughts drifted to the stories that I seem to read on a constant basis… the teen killed because they were texting. An entire family’s life changed forever because someone couldn’t put down their phone and just drive.

I’m not dumb. I understand that if I wreck while looking at my phone, I may hurt someone else in the process. I may kill an animal. I may kill a pedestrian. So how many close calls does it take before I put down my phone? Apparently a lot. I can’t count the number of times I’ve looked up from my phone to see that I’ve drifted over the center line. (Although I’m very careful to not look at my phone when I see a car is coming the opposite way)

The fact that I can’t just sit in my car and drive bothers me. Am I so addicted to social networking and knowing what’s going on every second that I can’t put my phone down for an hour? I don’t look at my phone when MrC is with me b/c he, well, wouldn’t let me. He’d take my phone and throw it somewhere where I couldn’t reach it before I knew what was happening.

I can’t help wondering, does anyone else have this ‘problem’? The need to constantly be doing something and know what’s going on? It’s a habit I’m breaking starting today. At least while in the car.

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4 Responses to “My bad habit”

  1. Sarah Lee Says:

    I hate admitting it, but yeah, I do this too. To make it worse, I have MY KIDS in the car with me. It’s not just myself I’m endangering but them, too. Ugh. I very nearly rear ended someone a couple of weeks ago because of my phone. When I’m on my bike and I’m on the road I’m always praying that no one is distracted by their phone and hits me. So fearful.

    Okay, I’m breaking the habit with you. Here we go. We can so do this.

  2. Mrs.Captain Says:

    Were you in my back seat when you wrote this? It is out of control. Some days I am working 2 phones! My personal and my work blackberry. Since reading your post though, I am pleased to say that I have not looked at my phone (other than the gps) while driving. I thought about putting it in the back seat, but then my paranoia kicks in…what if I crash and need to call 911 and can’t reach my phone? What if I get carjacked at a stop light? What if I have a heart attack and have to pull over and can’t get to it? So I still keep it on my passenger seat within reach, but have stopped myself every time I have reached for it.

    WE CAN DO THIS!!

  3. Sara Says:

    Um, yeah, I do this too. And as the other Sarah admitted I do it with my kids in the car. And my oldest has her license. I tell her all the time to not text and drive (or FB or whatever) but why would she listen to me when I’m doing it? I’m in, I’ll break the habit with you both starting today.

  4. Wendy Says:

    A few years ago I actually got a ticket for texting and driving (technically I was checking Twitter, but apparently that doesn’t get you out of a ticket) on the very first day the law went into affect. Luckily, the city screwed up somehow and the police didn’t actually have jurisdiction to ticket people yet and so they dropped the ticket. Still, that had me stop using my phone while driving…for a few days.

    It’s horrible, but when I hear stories about people getting in accidents because they were using their phones I think “They weren’t doing it right.” I have this impression that when I’m doing it, I am safe because I only do it when there really aren’t any cars nearby (unless it’s during the end-of-the-day commute when traffic is stop and go –which honestly is probably the worst time to do it because I’ve almost bumped into cars in front of me). I don’t use my phone driving down our street because I think about how I would feel if one of my dogs got out and got hit because someone was distracted. Or even hitting someone else’s pet. Plus the neighborhood is full of unsupervised crotch rats that have this weird magnetic pull toward the road. But it’s mostly the pet thing.

    Those are all good things, but I realize that doing it at any time isn’t a good idea.

    As for feeling the need to be connected all the time, I used to be the poster child for multitasking. When we were in Mexico and forced to not have our phones, I realized what a stress it was. I mean, I had to sit and do nothing. And look at my surroundings. And talk to my husband. The time actually went by pretty slow but I realized how fast life passes us by and it felt good to savor the moment. Didn’t realize using my phone to fill “bored time” was causing that. When we landed back in the states, I only turned on my phone to check with our house sitter. I check my phone a lot less now and I’m liking it. The only bad thing is I hate that I miss so much of what my friend’s say, but I try to go back and catch up with it when I do check. Life seems a lot slower and I kind of like it.

    Now I just need to get Hubby of his damn phone.

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