We more senior cricketers were waiting for the final oldie to turn up. As is his custom he was late and totally disorganised but more significantly had some serious damage to the wing of his car; in response to the inevitable question of what happened, we all fell about laughing so this set in motion a train of thought, but more of this little tale later
Guardia Civil Trafico recently announced a purge against driver distraction as they claim that it is a major cause of accidents along with speeding and driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, so what distractions do we face?
Self inflicted distractions
Most if not all of use allow ourselves to become distracted whilst driving, if only briefly. Searching for your favourite radio station or changing the CD from Mario Lanza to Motorhead is perhaps the most common as you have to look at the CD/radio whilst doing this, especially if you want to read the label
Smoking is allowed in cars, and for sure can cause problems as having a lighted flame at the end of your nose can be dangerous; looking where to flick the ash is constant and then you have to discard the butt hopefully in the ashtray and not on the car seat. I smoke in my car and my rear seat can look like the aftermath of a volcanic eruption as the ash flies behind me whilst the window is open; have hit a cigarette against the window whilst flicking the ash and even dropped one into my lap. Now this was very disconcerting as I had no wish to have my vegetables cooked, so pulled in quick to minimise the danger.
So as a smoker I am aware of the potential hazards and try to be careful. As a some time biker too, receiving a lighted Woodbine in the face at 60 MPH is no fun either as some inconsiderate motorist ejects it from the car in front. Many fires are started by dog ends too with the motorways signs reminding us of this as well as the penalty if caught hurtling an incendiary from your car
Drinking or eating whilst driving is something I’m sure that we have all done especially on a long journey but has its problems too as it is difficult to see whilst your head is upturned with a quart bottle in your face. Kids constantly asking “are we nearly there yet?” deserve a special mention as they can drive you insane making it hard to see the car in front when you are looking backwards to yell at them to shut up! Keeping them amused and regular stops may well help keep them quiet or at least your sanity intact
Mobile phones are probably the biggest distraction of all. With all of the hands free devices on the market why do so many have a phone in their hands instead of a steering wheel? Not only is this potentially dangerous but is an obvious signal to the boys in green
The biggest distraction
So let’s go back to the meeting of we cricketers. In order to protect his identity, I told Jack that no one would be able to recognise him from the story. He is however known to be a generous fellow and has gained a reputation as something of a connoisseur of the fairer sex. He announced that as he was backing out of a parking space at his golf club, he couldn’t help but notice a rather attractive lady member sashaying by. So distracted was he that he turned directly into a concrete post at which moment he remembered that he was supposed to be driving.
Following on from the recent story of a driver in England who was fined for looking back to see if she was looking back to see if he was looking back at her, it is plain that the biggest distraction, for male drivers at any rate, is the sight of a pretty female, though it is true that sometimes you have to have a good look to see if she is pretty all the way around. I am advised that the ladies look at we chaps too but are much more discreet about it. Once or twice I have been appraised from head to toe by an approaching woman, but I’m not sure whether she could believe I was for real or merely needed a trip to Specsavers
Ladies of course are renowned for flicking their hair to suddenly improve their appearance; applying lipstick or makeup whilst driving is not uncommon either. I’m sure that they start whilst the traffic lights are red, move on when the horns sound and just carry on as if is the most natural thing in the world; well it is, but not when in command of more than a tonne of potentially lethal machinery
Here’s the point, a car is powerful, fast, hard, dangerous and completely brainless, just like some blokes that I have met. They have to be controlled at all times as you never know what may get in your way, so if you need to light up, tune in or look at the passing scenery at least do it when safe to do so and keep a large gap between you and the vehicle in front
As well as self inflicted distractions, we are sometimes not helped by the authorities. Road signs are there to provide information and instructions, but there are times when there are just so many bunched together; you would have to slow to a crawl to read, interpret and act upon them all. Billboards can be interesting but when reading them you are not focussing on the road. Poorly signed diversions cause frustration and accidents, but all is not lost as sight of the police will make us drop the mobiles, ditch the burger forget the make up and ignore the girls, so why not all the time?