Going down the road ... feeliní bad

I donít know about the rest of you, but these days it seems like Iím putting my life on the line every time I get behind the wheel. NASCAR drivers have it safer, if you ask me, than we do here in our tiny little corner of upstate New York.

I suppose itís nothing new, but with the advent of the cell phone (not to mention the complete lack of supervision when it comes to our elderly population) it seems more dangerous than ever to drive just about anywhere, whether itís to the grocery store or out of town for the weekend. Which is why, Iím sorry to say, itís time for our local law enforcement, as well as the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, to make some changes.

Unlike when the cursed things first arrived on the scene, Iím now the proud owner of my very own cell phone. At the beginning, Iíd vowed to myself (for a good year or two) I would have nothing to do with them, whatsoever. At the time, I was determined not to be ďon call,Ē so to speak, at all times, 24 hours a day.

Which was, of course, totally unrealistic.

Regardless, Iíve rarely used my now-archaic mobile communication device while driving (let alone texting), and I simply canít understand why people refuse to get it through their head that itís really not a good idea to do so. And by ďnot a good idea,Ē I mean one that can be potentially and extremely dangerous.

Texting, in this writerís humble opinion, is even more ridiculous, and thatís where my real beef lies. It seems not a day goes by where I donít see some foolish driver cruising along without a care, concentrating on catching up with the latest gossip rather than watching the road. Personally, I could care less if they manage to crash their car, truck or SUV into the nearest tree or telephone pole. When theyíre putting other people at risk, however (including myself), well, thatís where I draw the line.

The worst part? Here in Norwich (all of Chenango County if you really think about it), I see nothing being done about it. And considering it is against the law the last time I checked ... letís just say I find that to be more than a little irresponsible.

Just as bad, to my mind, is the lack of driving skills exhibited by those whose days on the road have long passed them by (not to mention the drug addicts, drunks and young, first-time drivers out there). And before those of you associated with the senior crowd start sending in the hate mail, please realize that Iím fully aware not all of you fall into the following categories: driving erratically, failing to use turn signals, pulling out directly in front of me, swerving into my lane or all of the above (in regards to the lack of attention to the speed limit, well, Iím not even going there).

The fact of the matter is this ... why on earth, if youíre forced to take an eye exam, as well a test (both written and driving), as a teenager, when oneís eyesight and Ė how shall I say, mental capabilities Ė are up-and-running, youíre not when you reach the age of, oh, 70, letís say.

Once again, I understand not everybody has trouble maneuvering our city streets as they get older, but hey, safety first, right?

Speaking of teenagers, I can remember, back when I was that age, my mother explaining to me what a big responsibility driving safely was. And if I needed any proof that I wasnít nearly as capable of handling a motor vehicle as I thought, well, my first foray out of the County Office Buildingís parking lot spoke volumes the day I got my permit. Granted, I only clipped the curb, but even that little mistake gave me pause (months later, I did more than clip one, which did a remarkably large amount of damage to momís Plymouth Sundance ... sorry mom).

Even now, Iíll be the first to admit Iíve had my fair share of driving mishaps. Some (see my May 6, 2010 blog, ĎHoly Sheepí) were pretty harmless, some more than a little scary and others potentially deadly. Yet Iíve always considered myself an above average driver.

Unfortunately, not everyone can say the same. So in an effort to help make our streets, roads and highways a little safer, hereís some advice ...

Those of you who enjoy the text-and-drive lifestyle, stop. Please.

As for our elderly population, please be responsible when it comes to making a decision as to when itís time to hang up the keys.

And you complete and utter morons who continue to use the left-turning lane as an opportunity to merge with traffic, well, I donít even know where to begin, so again, just stop (and no, you donít get a please, just cut it out).

Speedsters, realize that going that extra 10 to 20 miles over the speed limit will save you about five minutes (tops), wherever it is youíre going. Itís simply not worth it, so slow down.

And me? Well, with my aging car on its way to the junkyard in the next couple of years (I hope it makes it that long), I guess Iíll either be walking, riding a bike or taking the bus, none of which will make me feel any safer if people continue to drive the way they seem to lately.

What can I say, itís scary out there these days.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.

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