Keep it on the road

Drivers on cell phones, your basic careless motorist, the elderly, the newly licensed ... it seems these days that every time you put the key in the ignition youíre also putting your life on the line.

And donít get me started on crosswalks.

Not that I have anything against crosswalks, mind you, but some people just donít seem to understand that a crosswalk is not an invisible force field protecting one from oncoming traffic. And itís become more and more apparent that some people ... seriously ... did not pay attention in kindergarten.

You know, the whole looking both ways thing?

Regardless, considering the number of distractions out there on the road, well, letís just say even my daily commute has become a no-holds-barred, death grip on the steering wheel affair.

And I only drive five miles to and from the office. Go figure.

As for cell phones, and more specifically their use while driving, Iíll never understand the lure of putting oneís life on the line simply for the sake of conversation. It just seems so illogical to me, and yet you canít drive from one end of the city to the other without seeing at least three or four individuals (or five or six ... or more), completely oblivious, chatting away while sipping on a soda, lighting a smoke or unwrapping that tasty snack that just couldnít wait.

Hereís an idea, why donít you just go ahead and see if you can make things any more difficult to keep your eyes on the road; like maybe read a book or do your hair, write that long-lost pen pal or pen the great American novel?

All while driving, of course.

Which isnít to say I havenít seen that kind of behavior before, as Iím sure others have ... women touching up their make-up or some stiff in a suit perusing the latest stock report, all while travelling 75 miles an hour down the highway (or route 12, for that matter). People seem to think theyíre invincible behind the wheel, which, letís be honest, should scare the hell out of everybody, particularly your everyday, responsible driver.

I know, I know, I said responsible driver. The jokeís on me.

As for the elderly Ė not all of whom are bad drivers, Iíll admit Ė and those newly licensed to operate a half-ton of metal and plastic capable of high rates of speed, both have their faults. In fact, just this morning, I had the pleasure of following your typical you-should-not-be-driving-anymore kind of gentleman. My problem? He was doing 20 miles per hour ... in a 55 ... in the dark and rain. Which made the youngish gentleman behind me Ė the one swerving this way and that (trying to get a look at the old-timer) and riding my tail Ė all the more dangerous.

Me? Well, I guess you could say I was stuck in the middle. Was I annoyed with the old gent in the pick-up truck? Of course I was. Was I in fear for my life thanks to the barely-out-of-my-teens maniac following me? Youíre damn straight.

Was there anything I could do about it?

No comment, although I must admit I have an extensive vocabulary when it comes to ... err ... more colorful language.

Not a good way to start the day.

All of this is not to say that Iím the worldís best driver, just so you know (because my closest friends will tell you Iím not ... and that I need glasses), yet I do refrain from texting or talking away on the cell phone when behind the wheel. As for my past and my days as a member of the young and the reckless, well, letís just say Iím certainly a better driver than I was nearly 20 years ago, when I got my permit. And Iíd be the first to throw away the keys if and when I reach old age, itís common sense.

I suppose these will be moot points, eventually, with the advent of cars that drive themselves, park themselves and come complete with their own lattť machine and mini-bar. Until then, however, wouldnít it be better for us all if the cell phones were put away during our travels; if the family of the elderly were to take away the keys, once itís time; and if we handed out licenses to the young only when weíre sure theyíre ready for the responsibility?

I know, common sense is for those who live unrealistic lives, but Iíd feel safer if these people would keep it on the road, if you know what I mean.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.

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