Sometimes Seeing is Believing
Now that we are riding up higher than most other vehicles, we have a great vantage point from which to watch people drive and see more clearly how vehicles respond to their driver's actions. Unfortunately, what we have found that easily 8/10 drivers we see are otherwise engaged (i.e. texting, holding a cell phone, reading, etc.). The sad exception we see now is someone driving and not jacking around with their phone.
We All *Allegedly* Know Better, so WTF?
So we have all seen the PSA's about how distracted driving can kill. States and cities have passed laws against texting and holding your cell phone while driving, but people still insist on doing it. What is unclear to me is why so many people of all ages and backgrounds feel they are immune to the impact phone use while driving has on their driving.
Let me start by telling you from first hand experience, without a doubt: YOU SUCK AT DRIVING AND TEXTING. If you think otherwise, you are an idiot. I am not a genius but I can tell from a distance which drivers are paying attention to the road and which are not. I have never driven by someone on their phone and thought “Wow, good job by you”. I have however, watched in horror as vehicles with distracted drivers:
- swerve across lanes obliviously causing other vehicles to crash;
- pull in front of other cars or just pull into an already occupied lane without warning;
- are unable to maintain a constant speed causing unnecessary traffic backups;
- miss traffic signs and lights;
- drive in the wrong lane; and
- the list goes on and on.
And before you pull out your AARP card, its not just teens doing this – we see more adults driving distractedly than teens, so don't think you are immune just because you are over 20 years of age.
And Another Thing…
Let me also take this opportunity to do a little math for you. My RV is 30,000 pounds. When you swerve your vehicle into my RV or pull out in front of my vehicle, your 5,000 pound car loses. See what happened to her car when a distracted driver swerved into our RV last year.
We can't see you when you drive in our blind spots. No amount of your finger fluttering and angry glaring will change physics, so learn to be a more observant driver and think before you do something more stupid. And, for the love of everything good, don't swerve in front of us thinking you will “teach us a lesson” – the simple math as outlined above says you will lose big and likely take the rest of us with you.
FYI – Cruise Control is NOT Illegal.
We use our cruise control both in the RV and when driving our tow vehicle. During almost every trip, we run across someone who is doing well enough under the posted speed limit that we want to pass them. We wait for an appropriate passing opportunity and invariably, the vehicle speeds up. I don't mean they just speed up a little – we've had more than a few speed up 20-25 mph over the posted speed limit (and 30-35 mph faster than their previous speed) for no apparent reason other than to be obnoxious. I desperately want to understand the psychology behind this behavior? I mean, seriously, wtf is wrong with someone that does this – they have to consciously press the gas pedal. Why make that choice? What do they get out of it? They mostly scare me. Or make me feel sad for them.
We don't typically react because, unfortunately, it happens often enough, we aren't surprised any more. We just try to get around them as quickly as possible and without further incident. Again, its not teens that do this, its people old enough to know better. If you don't want to be passed, set your cruise control at the posted limit and we'll happily follow.
Until drivers become more realistic about their abilities, we have developed a list of rules we try to abide by when possible:
- Drive during the day only – things only get worse at night.
- Drive during the week – repair shops are open and help is more readily available.
- Drive defensively – like everyone else on the road is a crack fueled demolition derby escapee.
- Don't drive on holidays – repair shops are not open and help may be harder/more expensive to find.
- Limit driving to 3-4 hours – keeps driver fresh and more alert.
- Always get a police report if you are in an accident especially if you are outside of your home state.
Personally, I am counting the days until I have a self driving car (I am going to name him Kitt) so I don't have to worry about my fellow drivers behaving so badly.
I have never driven by someone driving a car while on their phone and thought “Wow, good job by you”.CJ