Orange Barrels, Flashing Arrows & Distracted Driving
Dear Shiny Black Kia Optima Driver,
I have been thinking about you for a few weeks now. I can't seem to get you out of my mind. So, I am writing you to let you know I am concerned about you and the people around you while you drive.
My daughter and I were driving through the Appleton, WI area on our way back home from family vacation in beautiful Door County. We were on US 41 traveling on a stretch of 6 lane highway. We were clipping along at 72 (the mythically known "only 7 over the speed limit so you don't get a ticket").
You were ahead of us in the far left lane. There had been signs for at least 2 miles saying that your lane would close and merge ahead. Then there were large yellow flashing arrow signs telling you to GET OVER SOON! I watched as you drove faster and faster and didn't seem to care about the signs or arrows. As you got closer to the orange and white barrels you showed no signs of wanting to get over to the next lane.
Meanwhile.... in the lane next to you there were 2 vehicles. One was a dark brown deliver truck with an open back that was covered by a heavy curtain. It looked like a landscaping truck possibly filled with plants for a big project. The other car was a silver Dodge Caravan. It had several stickers on the back window that I couldn't see clearly because we were back a bit and one lane over.
So back to the orange barrels... You seemed to be one of those crazy drivers that wants to see how far they can go before absolutely having to merge. At the very last possible second your brake lights lit up and you swerved wildly into the lane next to you.
You almost hit the back of the delivery truck and the minivan had to slam on its brakes to avoid hitting you.
You magically avoided a big accident. I was unnerved. I was pretty vocal in the car (ask my daughter..she will tell you I had a few things to say!). I was irritated that you were that arrogant of a driver to be that reckless, selfish and unsafe to want to drive like that.
But then I passed you.
You had both hands not on the wheel. They were...
And to make it worse....your eyes were...
You didn't look up at the road the entire time I was passing you!
A few minutes later you passed me. Same thing. Head down. Both hands on your phone and typing away.
Just for good measure, and in hopes of it only being a 2 time thing, I passed you again. As we passed you for the 3rd time you were again looking at your phone, one hand holding the phone and the other scrolling the screen. My daughter piped in with the comments and said "Hey there...checking Twitter can wait!".
Now I totally get the magnetic pull of our smart phones. I understand, and live with, the addiction to a iPhone. When I hear that magical "ba-bing" it is VERY hard not to look at the phone to see who has texted me. I get it. But the 2 times I have texted while driving were enough to scare me to death. It is not worth it to look down for a few seconds.
But you were more than a few seconds with your eyes off the road. Way more.
Unbelievable. You could have easily hurt or killed many people that day. Have you ever thought of that? Who would you have hurt that day?
The delivery truck driver. I never saw the driver but I picture him being a young guy in his late 20s who works very hard every day hauling plants, digging landscapes in the heat of the sun. I bet he goes home after a 10 hour day to a wife and small child. That day he might not have come home to them.... all because you had to check an email.
The minivan driver. It was a couple in their 60s. I imagine that they were going on a trip to see their grandchildren. They were just enjoying retirement and had hopes of many years of memory making with family and friends. They might not have been able to make those memories....all because you had to check Twitter.
Me. I am a wife and mom of 4 kids. I own a business. I love people, am passionate about sports, am happiest when being creative and love God with all my heart. I have lots of things I still want to do here on earth. And mister, you almost robbed me of more time with the people I love and not getting to zip line (a bucket list item).....all because you had to check Facebook.
My daughter. Now you are in big trouble Mr. Shiny Black Kia Optima! This girl is so important to me. She has just graduated from high school and is heading off to college in August. She is giddy with excitement! She is going to study Elementary Education specializing in Special Education. She had a whole big future ahead of her. If you had hurt or killed her that day you would have taken a beautiful light from this earth......all because you had to see that SnapChat.
And yes........ you.
I haven't met you but I am betting you have a mom and dad who love you. I bet you have friends who care about you. I bet you have co-workers who think highly of you. You are probably an amazing man. You might even have children of your own. You would have robbed the world and your loved ones of time with you.........all because you had to text.
In closing I just want to implore you to put your phone down while you are driving. Is any of the stuff you were looking at, typing about, scrolling through worth dying for? So please, please, please.... for the love of the delivery truck driver, the retired minivan driving couple, me and my beautiful daughter.... stop looking down at your phone and look up at the road.
With great concern (and a bit of anger),
Not-so-shiny Silver Honda Odyssey Driver