Public Service Announcement: Thumbs and Driving Don’t Mix

This is a friendly reminder to not pick up hitch hikers, no matter how friendly they look. Even if he or she has a six-pack of Bud Light, obliging the thumb is a move that will likely result in an axe to your head, then the car cascading off a cliff into a fiery mess at the bottom of a canyon, suicidal hitch hiker laughing menacingly all the way down.

Then again, it could go right – you could make a new buddy from picking up a wandering soul on the highway. Hell, you could even meet the love of your life. It’s happened before.

Since I literally have nothing else to write about hitch hikers, let’s stop easing into a sensitive topic and get on with the real meat to this blog sandwich: Please. Please. PLEASE. For the love of human existence, stop thumbing your phone while driving.

Yes, I used to be guilty myself. There was a time when a well-timed “LOL” to a girl I liked was far more important than my health, let alone anyone else in my general driving vicinity. I was convinced I was so good at texting, I never even had to look at the phone because I knew where the numbers were.

Problem is, you still have to read the text that you got in the first place and then double-check yours makes sense before sending it off through cyber space. You may think it only takes a second, but it’s long enough. And no, the “LOL” to that chick didn’t pay off; thanks for asking.

I can’t even pull the “older and wiser” card on you guys here. Technically I’m older, the wiser part is debatable, but I’m still only 23. I just know better. A story I got in an email was what changed my ways for good – whether or not it’s true is irrelevant. The story went that a guy in a smart car was texting, swerved into oncoming traffic, and died instantly due to being sliced in half by a big rig. I’m assuming he never got to send that text. Here is one of many pictures of the aftermath, according to the email (WARNING: VERY graphic, please ignore if you expect rainbows and butterflies…lots of blood, metal and body parts).

My mom sent the email to me in her desperate attempt to make her son a well-rounded citizen (it worked…I’m freakin’ awesome). As if it wasn’t worrisome enough that there are human beings and fire hydrants and mailboxes and deer everywhere we drive (readers in or around Walnut Creek – how fearless are those damn deer that are trying to re-stake their claim to the land we built our neighborhoods on? I see packs of them driving home every night. What if they were zombie deer? Holy shit. I’d never leave my house after dusk. There are hordes of them standing in ditches and on sidewalks everywhere, just waiting for the chance to jump into my windshield or shit on my lawn. THEY FEAR NOTHING. Blood-sucking little Bambi’s…sorry…got carried away there).

Where was I? Right! As if it wasn’t worrisome enough that all those obstacles exist on a normal day, we have to worry about other drivers on the road. On highways there are gigantic, loud, terrifying trucks everywhere you turn.

If you think looking down at your phone to send a pointless text is worth slamming into the back of one of those trucks and leaving your head stuck to the bumper, leg to the axle, and ass to the exhaust pipe, you’re sorely mistaken. Keep challenging the facts. Keep laughing in the face of emoticon-fueled danger. Have fun in prison.

Just ask this guy. He’s one of the lucky few who you COULD ask.

When I see people scrolling through a text, tweet, Facebook message, email, etc. on their phones while driving, I want to give them a not-so-friendly bump with my right headlight just to make a point.

You know what I do when I get a text while driving? One of three things: I ignore it until I’m done driving, I give it to my shotgun rider/navigator/partner in crime (title pending, based on who is sitting there) and ask them to respond for me. I can dictate a quick sentence to them and keep both hands and eyes on the road. Or if it’s really that urgent, give them a call on speakerphone.

Honestly, I’m no angel. I still do it once in a while. I lose focus. But it’s like training yourself to do anything else: eating vegetables, flossing your teeth, chewing with your mouth closed, not picking your nose, only farting in front of your family and close friends. You know, normal stuff. Mind over matter. Make a concentrated effort to stop. 

You can’t make this stuff up. Students were asked to navigate a driver’s ed course while texting in a study done recently. The results were conclusive – driving while texting is equal to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Or the legal limit. The number all tipsy drivers fear.

Do you really need any more convincing proof than that? Ignoring a statistic of that magnitude would be an ugly display of priorities…and make me hate my own species a lot.

Look, all I’m saying is texting is a dangerous activity while behind the wheel of a car. The only time there should be something so urgent is in a legitimate emergency situation. And in that case, if you’re texting, you suck at urgency. That’s why god invented speed dial.

This is how people get cut in half. It’s no joke. And next time this blogger sees you texting and driving, there will be a pre-meditated fender bender coming to a highway near you.

Try LOL’ing at that, sucka.

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