Please Don’t Text And Drive!

As a motorcyclist I usually have a birds-eye view of motorists in their cars and, in spite of local authority warnings, I can honestly say that about 75% of the drivers I pass are fiddling around with a mobile phone in one hand and steering the car with the other. A couple of years ago, a car driven by a man who was texting on his phone, collided with my rear wheel on a dark, rainy night and fortunately, I only suffered a few bruises. I know he was texting because my eyes took an instant screenshot, as if in slow motion just as his car was illuminated by the street lights and about to hit me.

Here in Buenos Aires, although many laws are enforced quite aggressively such as parking and towaways since they are easy money-spinners for corrupt officials, the general cultural attitude seems to be that motorists flaunt the laws because they know they can get away with it. The main drag into the city is an eight-lane demolition derby which I enjoy riding down, purely for the exhilarating experience, but once stopped at the lights, I can see that most drivers are paying more attention to their mobile phones than their surroundings. This is also true when moving off, but I’m never tempted to confront anyone because of the risks involved.

Whatever Happened To Hands-Free?

Argentina may be a third-world country in many respects, but newer cars abound and such vehicles are equipped with Bluetooth and other hands-free technology. You can even text through voice recognition, so there’s no excuse for steering one-handed and texting your lover that you’ll arrive at the hotel ten minutes late. This is known as distracted driving.

I even know people close to me who own brand-new cars equipped with GPS screens, Bluetooth, and all the other latest tech, yet they still insist on fiddling with their phones when driving. Fortunately, I’ve never been a passenger in one of their vehicles, but if I were to be, I would insist on them not pursuing such a dangerous habit or I would tell them to stop the car for me to make a sharp exit. I also know several people who have huge 6″ GPS screens, yet insist on using Waze or Google Maps with one hand on their phones! What the actual f***?

Thanks For Nothing, WhatsApp!

Since WhatsApp launched voice messaging a few years ago, the feature has gone bananas, with everyone seemingly voice messaging like crazy, especially in their cars and I see this every single day as I ride around the city. As an aside, long and tedious voice messages can be really irritating and I’ve insisted on my customers to only leave me written messages for addresses and similar information because sometimes it’s impossible to understand what they want. On another occasion, I contacted a young lady with a view to getting a quote for some graphic design, only to receive a 20-minute diatribe on why she couldn’t do the work. An entire life story in 20 minutes! Jeez!

I only quote these examples to show how addicted some of us are to our mobile phones. Frankly, it’s getting out of hand and I often see moto delivery riders texting with one hand, cigarette in the other, and on one occasion, a paper map fluttering over the handlebars. I kid you not!

Please don’t do this for your sake and others, especially motorcyclists and pedestrians.

6 thoughts on “Please Don’t Text And Drive!”

  1. Oh dear, Mumma Mia it’s just as well they don’t live in Australia.
    We have THE roughest laws around mobile use in cars by far.
    Our roads have overhead cameras that detect everything going on in the cab of the car. From mobile use, no seatbelt to sexy contact, it all shows up!
    And our fines are huge and about to almost double for many infringements.
    It’s getting very petty to the point where it’s hardly worth venturing out at all. Yet we are a nation of drivers who like nothing better than getting in the car and going somewhere. Anywhere actually!
    So a car related mobile fine is around $1300-$1900 currently.
    Since mine lives in my handbag when I’m out and my handbag is often in the boot of my car, I’m unlikely to ever get that fine.
    Like you , I don’t see the need to be on the thing 24-7. It’s a PIA to message on, requires reading glasses to see it and I need two hands to do anything on mine.
    So I’m happy to leave it put away for a day out without the interference from the darned thing!
    And I’d struggle if I had to share roads with those who used their phones while driving. It’s just not a good thing.

    1. One wonders if the measures taken are to improve safety or simply to generate income for the local authority when it gets to this level of Big Brother recon, Charlie.

  2. Driving while distracted should be no laughing matter because it can have tragic results, but the blessed few who do so extravagantly and escape without injuring anyone have become examples of wonderment and comedy whose stories are passed down to us mere mortals. My favorite is from Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, a 1994 non-fiction novel by John Berendt and a 1997 film by Clint Eastwood. The Lady Chablis drives down a crowded highway at high speed while putting on her makeup, doing her hair, changing her outfit, and passing other travelers.

    1. Jacb, I see that a lot in Buenos Aires as well – doing the make up, I mean.
      I’ve yet to see anyone actually doing a change of clothes whilst driving, but you never know!

  3. See it here in Florida – and everywhere else in the US – all the time. A sophisticated as newer cars may be, most people have absolutely NO clue on how to even set up the BT connection with their car. No two brands do it the same way and some of the brands bury the process under non-intuitive menus. Most people just say screw it and use their phones directly. I don’t deal with texts while driving and only answer calls handsfree through the car if I know it’s important. But I’m retired and don’t have the urgency or volume of calls that most do.
    If automakers would standardize and simplify their interfaces I think it would help immensely. Same with maps!
    As Android Auto and Apple Car Play become more widespread maybe it’ll get better. Should be standard equipment!

  4. Yep same here in Canada. I ride an e-bike commute almost all summer long, as you say birds eye view

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