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Cell phones. Drivers. BAD combination.

Dear all,

Do any of you drive while talking on your cell phone?

If so, then stop it right this fucking instant. Oh, but you're a good driver, you say? You can handle the pressures of talking and driving simultaneously, you say? You're not like all those other morons, you say? Yeah, well, I'm sure the genius who almost ran into me today thought she was pretty good at it, too.

I'm breezing along in the bike lane, past a line of cars delayed in traffic (because that's the beauty of biking; you get to breeze past cars delayed in traffic), when suddenly, a white car veers in front of me, impatient for that shortcut to the next street. Would have hit me if I hadn't seized up on the brakes and screamed like a girl to get her attention. She looked very humbled and scared (cringing pathetically there, with her cell phone still clutched up against her ear), but I didn't stick around to chat; just glared intensely, several times, and moved past, since I wasn't hurt.

Weird that I screamed, incidentally. I don't usually scream when startled. It seemed to be strictly a method of alarming her and getting her to stop, high-pitched screeches generally working wonders for that. Nice to know my reflexes are in order, there.

But if this little tale can keep any one of you from smashing into someone, then it was worth telling. So, to recap: Hang. The Fuck. Up. And Drive.

Oh, and bicyclists? Wear a helmet. Never know when some idiot motorist will neglect to look in their mirrors.

P.S. No, I don't usually swear like a sailor, but this calls for it, methinks.

P.P.S. Oh, yeah, Happy Valentine's Day. Pink and red still look horrible together, world; didn't you get the memo?



( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2003 11:52 am (UTC)
when i'm on the phone in the car i use the hands-free thingys. talking on the phone while holding it is asinine.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 14th, 2003 12:59 pm (UTC)
damn! i was hoping i was doing a good thing...
Feb. 14th, 2003 01:16 pm (UTC)

The thing that makes talking on a hands-free cellphone in the car different from talking to someone inside the car, is that a passenger is part of the driving experience, and can clue in and shut up when driving conditions get hairy. Not so with a caller...

Which is why I routinely pull out my earpiece mid sentence and shout "hold on..." I don't have a problem with that at all.

Feb. 14th, 2003 01:44 pm (UTC)
good point. we've been in the habit lately of letting the passenger dial and take calls if we get them. it's just safer that way.
Feb. 14th, 2003 03:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, exactly...the person on the phone may not understand why we pause mid-sentence to negotiate some unforeseen traffic thing, so out of deference to their expectations, we try to maintain the conversation as if we were not driving. Which sometimes leads to sacrificing the quality of the driving.

Now, if only I could figure out why we turn down the radio when we're looking for an address. :)
Feb. 14th, 2003 11:53 am (UTC)
Not to pick a fight, but it sounds like the "impatient" and "shortcut" parts of that played a major role in the incident. I've had more bad experiences with impatient asshole drivers than I have with drivers on cell phones. The combination fo the two is obnoxious, but I think the cell phone gets too much blame. Most of these drivers were asshole drivers in the B.C. (before cellular) era.

My biggest driving gripe is super-huge, phallus-compensatory monster trucks and SUVs driven by complete and utter aggressive assholes. Of course, their windows are tinted so dark that I can't tell if they're on the phone or not.
Feb. 14th, 2003 01:12 pm (UTC)
Already did my cell phone/SUV rant this week. Don't drive very often, yet have had numerous encounters with chatters rolling through stop signs, passing into oncoming traffic, tailgating, other weird behaviors. They will also run you down with shopping carts (ow ow ow). Disturbing.
Feb. 14th, 2003 03:43 pm (UTC)
She could just be a horrible driver generally. I have no way of knowing. Just figured the cell phone probably contributed to the distraction factor.

This is a college town, so we get all kinds of lame young hotshot drivers. Still, I count my blessings that I don't have to deal with true city traffic or anything!
Feb. 14th, 2003 11:55 am (UTC)
Amen to that!
About a year ago, a woman on a cell phone almost ran me over while I was crossing the street. I had the green light, she was trying to turn right on a red light, and of course looking for cars coming from her left instead of pedestrians coming from her right. I was already in the street when I realized she wasn't going to stop. I screamed "stop!" as loud as I could. She stopped. She then proceeded to give me an dirty look. I then yelled "what the hell are you doing?" She replied by yelling back "I'm talking on the phone!" and zoomed off. Great, you're dangerous AND you have no clue...

Watch out for yourself out there!

(Deleted comment)
Feb. 14th, 2003 01:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Amen to that!
That's why I carry BRICKS!

Feb. 14th, 2003 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Amen to that!
Jeez! No remorse, even. How irritating. At least mine looked contrite...hehe.
Feb. 14th, 2003 01:17 pm (UTC)
I hate people who drive and talk at the same time. Unfortunately, it's the only time I get to talk to my dad sometimes.. ::weg:: so we both took a defensive driving course, which was great fun, recommend it to everyone.

When I'm driving and have the phone on, I'm hyper aware of everything. I don't think I even blink. I'm also used to controlling a hyper german shepherd in the car (tho NOT while I'm on the phone.. or rather, vice versa). And I've been known to take phones away from friends while driving, and not give it back until they swear to me they'll quit talking and driving.

Just wanted to let you know that not all cell users are brainless idiots looking for a lawsuit. I go back to lurking mode now. :)
Feb. 14th, 2003 03:50 pm (UTC)
Hehe, I've driven with hyper German shepherds. Ah, the good old days of my teen years...

I do believe that some people are quite adept at talking, driving, changing the CD, and perhaps juggling oranges while they drive - there are some talented multitaskers out there. But the average untrained person, as you note, is probably best off not doing it.

Feeling kind of silly for making this such a big deal. I mean, hey, I didn't get hurt...(this time).
Feb. 14th, 2003 08:10 pm (UTC)
Don't feel silly about making a big deal about it. Feel good that you are, because you're making the people around you aware of their own actions, be it with a cell phone or any other distraction. The more people who make a stink about it, the fewer people get hurt, in my most humble opinion.

What really chaps my hide is that some MANUFACTURERS are making video screens in cars that the DRIVER can watch. They're just begging for some lawsuits there.

oh.. and I turn down the radio when I'm looking for an address so that I can concentrate better on what I'm looking for. :)
Feb. 16th, 2003 06:04 pm (UTC)
turning down the radio while searching for an address
I do it so that I can enlist the other people in the car to help me look for said address, then I can better hear what they say.

Unless I'm driving alone. I haven't caught myself doing it while driving alone and looking for an address, but then it may be a subconscious thing that I'm unaware of.
Feb. 14th, 2003 02:00 pm (UTC)
cells in cars
Well I no longer have a cell phone, but when I did, we had a hands free thing. AND the passenger was in control of the climate control, radio, and cell phone. The driver did not use the cell unless it was an absolute emergency. And I'm not talking "oh I have to tell so-and-so this inane gossip before I forget about it" ... I'm talking, your foot is literally hanging onto your leg by one tendon stuff.

But then I never understood the whole "chat about everything and nothing on the cell when its cheaper to use a regular phone" thing.
Feb. 14th, 2003 03:53 pm (UTC)
Re: cells in cars
Oh, I have no problem with the passenger using it. Or the driver in important and/or brief conversations, as you note. It's just, people around here seem addicted to their phones. Granted, it's a California college town, so it might not be characteristic of the whole nation or anything, but really, every fourth person you see, walking, driving, or biking (yes, even biking) is on a cell phone. Surely this is not necessary, let alone safe...
Feb. 16th, 2003 09:15 am (UTC)
Re: cells in cars
Absolutely. But then, as stated before, stupid drivers will be stupid drivers, no matter what their excuse for said stupidity. Sometimes its changing the radio station, or eating, or adjusting the A/C, or putting on eyeliner (YES I have seen people driving and putting on eyeliner) ... I've even seen people singing along with the radio, eyes CLOSED, while driving. Terrifying, really.
Feb. 14th, 2003 08:48 pm (UTC)
The fact that it was a female driver shouldn't be completely discounted either. O;)

(but then, you are aware of my trackrecord with teenybopper female drivers.)
Feb. 14th, 2003 09:12 pm (UTC)
*pays herself five dollars for knowing you'd say that*

But yes, must admit that this incident is also annoying because she's giving female drivers a bad name.

(Seemed older than "teenybopper," though. Probably my age, or even 30s.)
Feb. 15th, 2003 12:09 am (UTC)
Pink and red still look horrible together...

Which is why it's especially good you didn't get hit.
Feb. 15th, 2003 07:20 am (UTC)
*pats* Poor you. I agree, too.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )