So... who's willing to tell on themselves? (re: distracted driving)

Inspired by this thread.

There seems to be a consensus in the thread that texting while driving is bad.

Well, a near consensus.

Bullitt and Bear_Nenno are arguing that it’s okay to text while driving, under specific circumstances (well, Bullitt is; Bear_Nenno may be Just Asking Questions). And when called to task for this point of view, Bullitt’s response appears to boil down to, “Oh, but you won’t say anything about eating while driving, huh?” Unless I’m completely misreading it, the crux of this argument appears to be that, if you would rationalize any other form of distracted driving, then bemoaning texting while driving is hypocrisy.

So, I put it to the Dope: is it?
Poll to follow (I hope).

I very often eat while driving. Is eating a bagel while driving considered to be “distracted driving?” If so…I’m guilty as sin.

(“Don’t drink while driving; you might hit a bump and spill it.”)

Don’t have a car, so I don’t drive. I have an old 2G phone, but it’s always off unless I need to call someone, and then I turn it on. But I would not turn it on inside a car.

The last time I drove was four years ago on a visit to the US. I did not take my phone to the US. I had no phone at all while in the US. Would not have used it while driving if I had.

I’m talking on the phone through my car’s Bluetooth quite a bit. I hate it. It’s much more distracting than holding my phone was. I try to keep it down to a minimum, but I still have to do it, or I won’t make my schedule for the day. (Playing phone tag with doctors between patients is bad enough; if I stayed parked while doing it, I’d have to drop 30% of my patient load, and couldn’t make a living wage.)

Likewise, we do a lot of our office communication via text. That I do at stoplights. Which is still totally illegal, but I honestly don’t get the big deal.

I got pulled over one time for going 80 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. My date and I were playing around. I would have never thought of myself as distracted as my eyes were on the road the entire time. I had no idea I was going so fast so I was clearly and dangerously distracted. I don’t do that anymore.

When my mom was still alive and struggling with cancer, she used to tell me that the drivers I had to worry about are the ones who are driving on the meds.

Nothing distracts me more than the radio. I refuse to drive with the radio on, or any other audio system. I once drove ten miles beyond my exit, listening to a talk show.

I do not own a phone that can be used outside my home, nor a device on which I can send/receive a “text message”, whatever that is…

Sometimes when I’m listening to the radio in the car, I check the digital display on the car radio to see what song is playing and what artist is playing it. I admit I get distracted when I do that.

Cell phone calls on Bluetooth. Check. Use Siri to dial or plug in information before departure. Prefer not to do the calls, but sometimes must due to length of time on commute.
Eating - sometimes.
Navigation system - plug in all the information before departure.
Music - yes. Hell yes. That’s what a play list is for.

Other than eating, all of this can be controlled by steering wheel buttons.

I can tell you that absolutely none of those things are in any way as distracting as texting while driving. Why? Because I have done that a few times and will never do it again. Sweet holy Lamby Pie, looking in your lap while typing, then trying to correct what you typed, all while only having one hand on the wheel, all while trying to make sure that you stay in your lane/don’t hit anyone slowing down in front of you/don’t hit the neighbor’s kids/don’t hit the neighbor’s dogs is just moronic. I consider myself lucky not to have killed myself and/or someone else.

Distraction is distraction, and me being me, 1961 vintage H. Sapiens, and not the Google RoboCar, heck yeah I’ve been distracted. That it’s virtually unavoidable does not make it good.

Well sure, that’s what you get for listening to Talk Radio.

I do avoid cars with touchscreen/joystick e-driving features and prefer mine with nice big knobs and buttons whose positions I can memorize and not need to look at. Have a CD changer so I get to load the discs before I leave (or rather did before it broke down and I haven’t been arsed to go get it fixed and retrieve two rather mediocre albums from inside it). Have a good sense of direction and location and learned to handle maps by the side of the road, not in motion so that’s how I do it.

People who know me are aware that the general culture’s growing expectation that everyone should be standing at the ready to respond immediately, 24/7, no matter where, has in me a steadfast leader of the Resistance. However I can set Siri up to read me the message and let me dictate a terse “OK, go for it” or “now occupied, back to you in five” reply, so that’s de minimis. Because trying to text while driving the old school way DOES make my driving deteriorate more than, say, yelling at some moron on the radio, I have observed.


grab a soda from a six pack and open it
hit commands on the dashboard for the iPod

but I don’t have a phone out at all or phone capabilities in the car.

I said it is all just as bad but secretly I think it’s not as bad as texting. I need to change my answer. :slight_smile:

Texting is very hard to do while driving, especially on my [del]crappy old[/del] totally retro flip phone. Eating does not require as much attention, even with a stick. Miss my old Taurus with an automatic and radio controls a finger’s length away from the wheel.

My car’s radio, hands-free system, HVAC, and cup holders were all designed to be used by someone who is driving, and to perform a minimal range of functions with minimal distraction to the operator. Much like the windshield wipers, headlights, and speedometer.

My smartphone was designed to perform a wide array of functions, hopefully in a way that utterly monopolizes my attention so that the phone, network, and app providers can continue to make money off of me.

Never EVER EVER, drive while listening to this:

Your foot will involuntarily press down on the gas until you find yourself driving way too fast. :eek:

And yes, the tune is most definitely a blast from the past that I had not thought about in years until today.

I don’t really get distracted by the radio or music. I absolutely refuse to talk on the phone while driving but I will text at red lites and I will skip a song on my phone while driving. I don’t see that as any more distracting than changing a radio station.

Thought you were going to this: Sammy!. (Oh my lord - the cheese is strong in this one.)

Heh, yes it is! :eek:

I’ve been known to skip the next track on the playlist (on my phone, hooked into the cassette player via adapter. Yes, my car is old) while driving. In very quick glances, knowing my player software well, but still not the smartest thing to do and I know it. I’ve also found myself driving while tired enough that I know I’m not at my usual level.

I’ve only had two at-faults in over 20 years of driving: a brake failure that put me into someone’s trunk (brakes were behaving normally at the start of the trip), and a misunderstanding with a parking garage support pole while seriously preoccupied (was dealing with moving-related errands at the time, thought that pole was farther away than it was, started turning too soon when backing out, swung the front left side panel into said pole).

I have never had an issue with it until I hooked up Spotify to my car audio and got a wonderful windshield mount for my phone.

Just recently it had become clear to me how dangerous this combination can be for me, so I’ve been consciously working to keep my eyes on the road, my hands upon the wheel.

I was much better about avoiding distractions when I had the stick shift. It’s one reason why I preferred it. I recently realized that I’ve gotten significantly more distracted while driving, and I’m taking steps to eliminate that distraction.

The phone stays in the bag/glove box(if I’m not carrying a bag). The only exception to this is if I’m using the phone GPS for directions somewhere and need to be able to hear it, since I’ve never gotten the map directions to come through the hands-free link well. It’s rare that I need that, if I’m being absolutely honest, because most of my driving is within a 5 mile radius. I never text while driving, but I have caught myself reading an email that came in - even if I started reading while stopped at a light, well, that’s still distracting to me.

I never eat in the car. I have a USB stick that plays my music - talk radio, while more entertaining, is more distracting to me. These are my major things, and I’m working on cutting those back again.