Please, for the Love of All Which is Holy, Get Off Your Cell Phone in the Car
Image: IntelFreePress via Flickr
We have a law in Maryland: no hand-held cell phones in cars and no texting while driving. I would personally love a simple no-cell-phones-in-cars law full stop. No checking to see who called you while you’re at the traffic light, or just downloading your email quickly and scanning it to see if so-and-so wrote. If it were up to me, I would even ban speaker phone conversations in cars (because yes, a conversation over the phone is different from having a conversation with someone who is in the car). We have a personal rule of no cell phones in cars, and we ask that everyone who drives our kids refrains from using their phone while our kids are in their car. But at the very least, I would love drivers to follow that bare minimum of the law: no hand-held cell phones and no texting while driving.
SO WHY DO I PASS PEOPLE DOING BOTH THESE THINGS DAILY?
I understand people are busy. I understand that sometimes people want to multitask in the car and take care of two things at once, such as returning a call. I know there are people who would never get a chance to speak to X, Y, and their friend, Z, if not for calling them during their commute. I get that people are waiting for information, I get that people have kids somewhere and they’re worried that someone is trying to reach them because there is an emergency, I get that people are curious.
But even with all that, I would ask you to stop using your phone in the car. Because no matter how well you think you balance it, you probably don’t. Because all those people who drive around distractedly, who rear-end other people by accident, who merge poorly, who switch lanes without signaling, who sit there reading a text message after the light has changed instead of going — all those people — they think they can drive and use a phone at the same time too. And clearly, they cannot.
Driving a car is a difficult task. It is an enormous responsibility. You take everyone else’s life in your hands when you get behind that wheel.
Please show care for the other people in this world and put aside the phone for the moments when you’re in the car. Check it once you’ve parked, or pull over to the side of the road and call someone back. Use those minute in between to focus on the road so we can all get from Point A to Point B.
You are an adult, and I can’t tell you what to do; only what I wish. And I really wish that everyone would put down their phone the entire time they’re behind the wheel.
I’m sure there will be someone who will suck in their breath (or whatever the equivalent is to priming their fingers) and tell me about why they must use their cell phone in the car. How I absolutely do not get how vital it is that they use their cell phone while driving. That they’re only sending a quick text at a red light. I don’t know how to respond to that, except to sum up this entire post with a single word: please.