She was turning left at a 6-way intersection. A lit cigarette dangling in one hand alongside her cup of coffee. Her other hand held her phone up to her ear. She turned using her bent elbow to steer. I followed her progress in my rear view mirror in case I needed to provide the police a description later, as the dangerous woman blessedly drove further away from my car full of kids.
There is a court case in Illinois right now where a woman was doing her nails while driving, crashed, and killed another woman. The defense argued she was only as impaired as a person who texts and drives.
It is illegal where I live to text and drive. It is illegal to talk on your cell in a school pick-up zone. You have to have a hands-free device to talk and drive on your phone in most cities in Illinois. They made these laws for a reason. People are idiots when they text or talk on the phone while driving!
I applaud Oprah and her "No Phone Zone" movement of getting people to pledge not to use their cell phones while driving. Click above to pledge and for some amazing stories and links about the real dangers when you don't pay attention to your driving. (I do giggle when a famous star signs the pledge, like they drive themselves around).
I was number 318,609 to pledge, and I did the big one: not using the phone AT ALL while driving. However, I hereby pledge to take it a step further. (Ahem) I will no longer talk to anyone that I know is driving while on their cell. Really, I don't want to hear you get into a crash when chatting to me about 'Lost', Lee DeWyze or anything else that can wait! I am putting my foot down (The Trash Heap has spoken!).
Think about the last time you saw a stupid move by another driver. Did you wonder to yourself, "I bet they're on the phone" or see they were as you passed them and say, "oh-that's why"?
There are thousands of stories about how people have crashed, killed themselves or others because they were on their phones while driving. Today, I just want to show how impaired you are when you stop paying attention to just driving. You probably think you drive just fine, and I'd bet the people below had NO idea what a danger they were being either. You are impaired, but do not even realize it.
I put the call out to my friends and Facebook Family to see other 'driving while on the phone/hands full' stories are out there. There were several submitted with the same theme: someone driving dangerously and having NO IDEA they were. There were crashes, but thankfully here, nothing worse.
Tina S: 1. Daily, I encounter the driving 20 in a 40 in the left lane while randomly breaking, only to pass the person to see they are on the cell.
2. The day we came home from the hospital with Charlotte. It was a Friday around 4 PM, and we were heading out of downtown Chicago onto the outbound Kennedy. The on ramp at Ontario was NUTS as is typical. We're in the left lane trying to inch our way up the ramp and notice folks bailing the left lane for the right. When we finally got up to the problem it was a woman driving-honestly 25 MPH chatting away happily on her cell as people were honking like the world was coming to an end-totally oblivious to the mess she was causing!
3. Then-I'm not making this up-it has happened at least 2 times to me-older ladies coming to a dead stop in the middle of Golf Road (a busy 4 lane street) to talk on the cell-dead stop! No Emergency Flashers to at least give people behind them a heads up-DEAD STOP! Now-I'm all for pulling over to talk on the cell but the point is to pull over out of traffic for everyone's safety!
Brandi S: a young girl just last week, turning left from central to 83. texting and turning the wheel left. I swear she never looked up, while TURNING the car. Not sure what lane she was aiming for, but I'm sure glad no one was crossing or even at the corner. NO PHONE ZONE!
Carolyn C: On Oprah's No Phone Zone day, my sister in law and niece were rear ended on the freeway in CA by a teen on her cell phone.
Laura L: My friend's college age daughter was texting while driving in Chicago and rear-ended a CTA bus. She wrecked her car. The crazy thing about is, the Chicago cop didn't give her a ticket because she cried!!
Anne E: Don't have any specifics but am a HUGE advocate of NO PHONE ZONE! Not to get on a soapbox but having a driver's license has responsibilites that go along with it.
Just drive. If you are in the car, just DRIVE. Do not eat (it'll save you some calories!), do not paint your nails, do not talk on the phone, and please, please do not text. Just drive. If not for you, then for the person next to you who may be driving their baby home from the hospital, on their first date, or their kids for ice cream. JUST DRIVE!