[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 61°F  
High: 73°F ~ Low: 48°F
Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

What do you do when you drive alone?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The recent laws against using cell phones while driving your car are getting a lot of publicity. The laws vary in different localities, but generally they state that while you are driving you should not be doing anything but driving. Some places even prohibit the use of cell phones that are mounted and don't require the use of either of your hands. The idea is that if you are talking to someone on the phone you are not putting all your concentration on driving the car.

But what about talking to your passenger? Will it become illegal to be talking or laughing with those who are riding with you? That could be quite a hazard for a parent if there was no legal way to tell a child to sit down or to rebuckle the seat belt. Having conversations make a trip pass pleasantly. I would hate to see such a law enacted.

Then there is the mention of fiddling with your radio while you are driving. I agree that trying to read the station numbers from the driver's seat could be dangerous. But listening to a preset station has been a lifesaver for many travelers.

Let's think about the person who is alone in the car. Naturally that will be the driver unless someone has a car with an autopilot. What would you do if using the cell phone for talking or texting is prohibited, and you are not supposed to be changing stations on your car radio?

The same lawmakers frown on eating or drinking (even water from a bottle) while you are driving, so that occupation might not be allowed. Many frequent drivers rent or buy discs of a book to hear a story as they travel. I haven't heard anyone considering banning that pastime but I would think it could be just as distracting as visiting with a passenger might be. In fact if it is a good story it could get you so caught up in the plot that you forget to get in the other lane, or pass your exit. Even a dull conversation with a passenger would be safer than that. At least the passenger might alert the driver to a problem by being a back seat driver.

OK, so we have eliminated almost all of the things we have become accustomed to doing while we are driving. What is left to do? A recent survey (and this was reported on the news recently) said that the activity listed most often by those who were driving alone, was picking your nose!

You are driving alone in a car. No one can see you, especially if you are driving on a divided highway, unless you pass another car, or are passed by one. You are not offending anyone with your lack of manners, and perhaps when you reach your destination it would be offensive to have not taken care of the problem.

A large percentage stated that they did indeed use this opportunity. So let's go back to the prohibitions that have been suggested lately for driver safety. I can imagine that reaching for a tissue to assist the process could become just as dangerous as reaching for the radio dial. Disposing of the tissue after the job is completed could be just as risky as putting down a drinking cup. Concentrating on doing a complete job could take away from your driving skills. And, a glance in the rearview mirror to see if indeed anyone is watching you, would take as much attention as a few words said to a passenger in your front seat.

I can't wait to see what lawmaker will now introduce a bill to make it illegal to pick your nose while driving.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus