Slow Down & Enjoy Life

We live in a fast-paced world, rushing to arrive at places quickly and multitasking at every opportunity. We keep our mobile devices handy at all times, giving us instant access to emails, texts, social media, games, news, and almost anything to keep us entertained. We use our mobile devices while eating, socializing, working, and even driving.

That last one is what bothers me the most — using our phones while driving. In this quickly moving world that we find our self in, maybe it is time to slow down and free our self from distractions, especially on the road. Many of us are driving too fast (guilty) and are distracted while driving.

I know, I know — you are excellent at driving while looking at your phone. If you’re anything like 90% of the people I pass on the roads, then your just lying to yourself. I don’t look at my phone while driving anymore, because I know that I can’t drive while doing so.

Distractions while driving are not only limited to mobile devices though, but also include eating, putting on makeup, a dog in your lap, messing with the radio, and reading a book (how the hell do you read a book while driving anyways??). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that 3,477 people lost their lives in 2015 due to distracted driving and 391,000 others were injured.

The Alabama law states that wireless telecommunication devices cannot be used to write, send, or be used for other text-based communications while driving — this includes handheld phones and computers. You are still able to use your phone for calls, but novice drivers are not able to use their device at all while driving. It is time to advocate for stronger laws and strictly enforce the laws that are already in place.

A few days ago, we were driving on a small side road about one mile away from our home. A lady driving on the opposite side of the road was traveling around three times the speed limit, and she drifted into our lane coming over a hill. I had a very small amount of time to react, but luckily she swerved at the last second — somehow managing not to flip her SUV. The lady was holding her phone in front of her face as she came over the hill, not knowing that she was drifting out of her lane.

Unfortunately, this is happening far too often. Try driving down the interstate for more than two minutes without looking over and catching someone on their phone. Vehicles are swerving all over the road due to distracted driving, and it is time that we all do better. Driving is a responsibility that we must all take seriously — our lives literally depend on it. Accidents are going to happen, and there is nothing you can do to about them, but we should do the best possible to prevent a few more.

A few weeks ago, there were several deadly crashes in Blount County, which is where I grew up and went to high school. There were 11 people killed over a period of a few weeks, which is far higher than normal. It’s just so devastating to hear news like this, especially from an area where I spent so much of my life. I’m not blaming anyone or distracted driving for any of these crashes, but if drivers were to slow down and pay attention, we might be able to prevent other deadly crashes like these.

When your driving, think about your life, think about your family’s lives, and think about the lives of others. Slow down, take your time, focus on the road, and enjoy the drive — it could be the difference in life and death.

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast — you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. – Eddie Cantor

M David Scott