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Distracted driving mars long weekend

It is too easy for a motorist to forget that they need to constantly focus on their driving.

Published July 5, 2012
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Every summer season we have long weekends that allow most of us to relax a little longer and blow off a little more steam. They are always the weekends to look forward to more than others.

Sadly, each long weekend, there are several tragic events that occur despite all the warnings from the safety experts.

On our roads the OPP, CAA and other motoring experts warn of the dangers of drinking and driving, aggressive driving and the other deadly sins that motorists conveniently ignore or forget. Newspapers and TV or radio reports following the long weekends are full of headlines such as “Hundreds of motorists ticketed” and worse, “Tragic deaths mar long weekend,” even though everyone was warned about the dangers and patrols.

The other danger often not mentioned is the peril of distracted driving. It is too easy for a motorist to forget that they need to focus on their driving constantly. Traffic flow and road conditions all can change in a second and a distracted driver can too easily miss important information if they are talking to passengers, texting, changing radio stations or simply daydreaming.

Unfortunately, socializing is a big part of our younger generation’s lives. It has been that way as long as there have been teenagers.

There is a distinct possibility that the fatal crash involving three young ladies returning from Cottage Country was a result of distracted driving. The official result of the investigation has not been released, but I would bet that distraction was at least part of the cause.

We need to remind all motorists that driving is the one task we all take part in that has the potential to be fatal. It’s so serious that drivers should be processing driving information and not social information.

Passengers can play a big role in this by taking an active part in not distracting their driver. The last thing I want is to share a ride with a distracted driver.

I urge parents and teachers to talk to their teenagers or students and help them understand the dangers of distracted driving. Focus while you drive and socialize when you arrive.

On another note, I do a lot of driving in and around the GTA and I, like many of you, get to witness some of the most boneheaded moves one could see on our roads. I think it is time to introduce my “Boneheaded Motoring Move of the Week”:

This week’s award goes to the young male driver in north Markham on the Sunday of this past long weekend. I was returning from Mosport in my car with my crew towing the race car behind me. As we drove along Major Mackenzie Rd. a low-slung Honda started weaving in and out of the traffic at a high rate of speed. We were in the right lane and I saw this idiot approaching from the rear. I could see his intention was to swerve from directly behind me to the lane beside me. I knew there was not enough room but his closing speed indicated he was going for it.

I swerved toward the shoulder to give him that extra room otherwise he would have hit the rear of my car. My friend Rui who was driving the tow vehicle thought I was going to be hit. The young driver continued to lane hop in and out of the remaining half dozen vehicles ahead of him.

For driving like this, he deserves the “Boneheaded Motoring Move of the Week.”

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