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A cleaner way to drive

How a random stranger likely saved my life.

A random stranger likely saved my life today.

It was 5:30pm and I was just getting off work.  I got on the freeway in my electric MR2 just as any other day.  Going through my normal routine, I checked traffic on my Nexus 4 smartphone to see if I need to take frontage roads to avoid traffic so I can be on time to pick up my son from day care.  Google maps says green all the way to Castro Valley.

 

Nexus 4 Traffic Map

Green all the way home

As I went to put the phone down, I saw the irresistible incoming email notification icon.  I swiped down to see what the email is about.  I don’t remember what the email was about, but I do remember that the next thing I noticed was that I was only a couple of miles from my Castro Valley exit.  I heard a horn honk off to my rear right. I ignored it and continued to focus on the task at hand, as the horn sounded like it was off in the distance.  A few moments later, I heard another honk.  This time, assuming that the honk was for another motorist, I thought, “calm down people, get along!”.  A 3rd honk sounded and now I am annoyed, still assuming that the honk was for someone else, I looked up to see who this annoying honker was and who he was mad at.

 

 

I saw a white sedan change lanes and approached my electric MR2 from the right.  An almost disgusted look on my face turned immediately into shock and embarrassment as I made eye contact with the driver of the white sedan.  He looked right at me and gave me a hand gesture to keep my eyes on the road!  This African American man had noticed that I had been looking down for probably the last who knows how long on the freeway at my phone and decided that he was going to get my attention to tell me to focus on driving instead of on my phone!

 

Distracted Driving

I hadn’t even noticed that I had started reading emails on my phone while I was driving! It took this good Samaritan to snap me out of my distracted driving. Though I felt embarrassed about my actions I also felt gratitude toward this man and thanked him with a hand wave and a thumbs up as he drove on.

 

 

 

 

Creatures of habits and routines
The convenience of a smart phone is undoubtedly useful as it gives us access to information almost all the time.  However, I have become so accustomed to reacting to the notification alerts that it has become a bad habit.  What bad habits do you have?  We are all creatures of habits and routines, what we habitually do, we will continue to do unless we spend some time and effort to break the routine.  Here are things that I’ve done to help myself out of this habit:

  • Remember this experience by writing it down in a journal.  Just by writing it down, it will help me remember it much more.
  • Ask for help.  I’ve asked my family members to remind me whenever they are in the car with me to not use my cell phone.
  • Got one of those windshield cell phone holders and put the phone on it whenever I am in the car.  This prevents me from looking down when I need to see traffic conditions and if the phone is not in my hand, it will be much harder for me to check that email.
  • Link up pain to old behavior and pleasure to new behavior:  I get to avoid the pain of hurting other people potentially if I keep this up and I get the pleasure of extending my life expectancy by changing.

If you have any other ideas that you’ve applied that has been useful, please share by commenting below.

Innocent Child

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Take the pledge!
I am glad that nothing happened to me or anyone else during this event, I could have seriously hurt someone including myself. As I think about the worst that could have happened to me and the loved ones that I’d leave behind I vowed to take the pledge against distracted driving.  I took the pledge at Distraction.gov.  I am really appreciative of what that driver did for me to jolt me out of the distracted state. Along with the pledge to leave my cell phone alone while driving, I will also be on the look out for distracted drivers and help them get out of the distracted state whenever I can.  Whether driving an electric car or gas car, we must all focus on driving while we are on the road.  Please share this with your friends by liking, tweeting, etc.  Raise awareness on distracted driving!





Posted in Distracted Driving

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