While many think it was something said by James Dean, “Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse.” is actually a line from the 1949 Humphrey Bogart film, Knock On Any Door. And for a bonus point, the actor who said it was John Derek.
I spotted a young lady trying to live out that ‘wisdom’ yesterday morning on the freeway.
It was bumper to bumper and traffic was crawling along, so the woman in the Ford Focus in front of me thought that it was a good time to multi-task. At first her head started bobbing up and down every few seconds, the way that heads do when someone is texting from the driver’s seat.
Next came the hair and make up routine.
Her left hand wrenched the rear-view mirror down. Why worry about what other traffic may be on the road when there’s lipstick to apply. For the next few kilometres it was all about applying a face full of make up and doing a lot of work on her hair. Most of the time this meant that she was travelling on a stop start freeway without her hands on the wheel. I imagine she wanted to look good in the body bag.
You have one job.
Here’s the thing. If you’re driving …. you’re driving. That’s it. I know that we talk about multi-tasking and I know that women are better at it than men, I get that, but when you are behind the wheel you need to be totally absorbed in the driving process and that’s all.
Driving is a matter of life or death.
I don’t care how well you think you drive and how well you think you can multi-task, distracted drivers kill. I don’t care if it’s a boring drive and you think you can manage a few things at once, just do one thing, drive. If you’re so busy that you ‘need’ to do other things while behind the wheel, re-evaluate your schedule. Cancel or postpone something. Learn to say no to people who require that you multi-task while driving. Your life may well depend on it.
Someone else’s life might depend on it too.
Are you prepared to be the one to break the news to the family of the driver of the other car that someone they love isn’t coming home? Do you think they’re going to accept your excuse that their mother, father, child is dead because you had to reply to a text message about where you’re meeting for coffee? Do you think it’ll ease their pain knowing that at the time of impact you were looking fabulous because you’d just finished doing your make up?
I know that this post might seem a little over the top and melodramatic, but I suspect it doesn’t even begin to go far enough for the many, many people who have lost someone to driver distraction.
Please hear one thing. When you’re on the road …. just concentrate on that one thing …. driving.
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve seen someone do behind the wheel?
If you enjoyed this post please use the buttons below to share.