Archived Story

Nothing to LOL about

Published 8:03pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Don’t get OMG with me about it, but Alabama’s new texting while driving ban goes into effect today, Aug. 1.

We’ve all seen it while driving on the roads. Some of us, myself included, have participated in this act, but it’s still one of the most dangerous activities that you can do while driving.

Most of us believe we are good drivers and that as long as we can keep our eyes on the road – even if we’re texting or talking on a cell phone – we’re still a safe driver.

That, however, is incorrect. This I know from experience.

The first instance I can remember of having distracted driving was talking with a friend on a cell phone as I approached a railroad crossing.

It appeared clear, but as I was crossing the tracks, I glanced over and saw that a train was there. Fortunately, I was able to get out of the way before I was hit, but it made me realize that it takes only one moment of distraction to cause an accident.

Four years ago, I was responsible for a car crash that was caused by fiddling with my cell phone while driving in traffic.

I was riding along on I-65 just south of Hoover trying to meet my family for dinner. It was during rush hour traffic. I was talking to someone on my cell phone’s two-way radio when the next thing I know… BAM!

I had rear-ended a minivan that had stopped right in front of me. I still to this day cannot remember exactly what happened. Traffic was moving along what seemed to be steadily, but it came to a sudden abrupt stop. And because I was distracted, I wasn’t able to react to the stopped traffic in front of me.

That wreck caused me to stop using my phone while driving again. Actually I’m not as responsive to my phone while driving as I used to be.

As time has moved on since that wreck, I’ve found myself texting while driving or trying to look something up on my phone. To this point, it hasn’t caused me to have another wreck – knock on wood.

But when Decatur passed the texting ban last year and now the state has followed suit, it has made me think twice about texting on the roads.

Beginning several years ago, several companies have tested the effects of texting while driving.

The results are startling. In some ways, texting while driving is as bad or worse than drunk driving.

It’s easy to think it couldn’t happen to us, but all it takes is one time of distracted driving. Then you won’t be able to LOL about it.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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