Yesterday morning I was riding on a residential road (not a neighborhood street) near the house on my way to meet a vacationing motorcyclist for ride when my motorcycle saved my life.
I was on a straight section of this road and not in a curve or on a hillcrest. The entire length of road has a nice double yellow line running down the middle. It was a cool (for early September in Georgia) and overcast morning. I had on my headlight, the moto-lights, a white helmet and a hi-vis jacket. Overcast skies seem to make hi-vis gear “pop”. There was an SUV headed towards me from the opposite direction. I then noticed the SUV was drifting into my lane! The closer it got, the more it came into my lane! Since I was on the motorcycle I was able to move over to the right side of MY lane to get out of the way of the oncoming vehicle that had crossed the centerline. As the SUV got close I blew my horn (our K1200LT has what sounds like a BMW car horn and not the little “meep meep” of most motorcycle horns). The driver seemed oblivious. I then noticed clearly she had both her wrists resting on the top of the steering wheel and was holding what sure looked to be a cell phone and poking at it as she passed. Although she was in my lane she was not close to me. But, had I been in a car, she surely would’ve hit me head on or at least side swiped me going the opposite direction. So since I was on a motorcycle I was able to give her both lanes of the two lane road.
Now you’re probably thinking to yourself “If you were in a car, you would’ve been big enough for her to see you and it wouldn’t have happened.” It is a good thought but it’s wrong and here’s how I know why. For starters, a motorcycle is a licensed and registered motor vehicle, pays taxes and tags and is therefore entitled to the same laws, rights and restrcictions as other vehicles. Second, there was another vehicle on the road behind me. It was another SUV and they had pulled up behind me at the stop sign and like me had made the right turn on the road and was behind me a bit. The SUV behind me either had their headlights or was a General Motors product with daytime running lights. As the approaching SUV passed me, I then heard another horn behind me. In my mirror I could see the SUV that was following me was partially in the grass and the SUV that had approached me was still partially on the wrong side of the road. I expected to hear a crash but didn’t.
It became very apparent that the woman driving the approaching SUV was reading or sending a text message. She was so enthralled by the message that she didn’t realize she on the wrong side of the road and therefore not nearly struck not one, but two vehicles.
Here in Georgia it is illegal to text and drive. But no one cares and does it anyway. In fact the law is very clear in saying you cannot read, create, compose, reply to text messages or email or perform web browsing unless you pull out of the roadway to do so. How about that? Georgia even threw in web browsing. Most people seem to think it’s OK to text while stopped in traffic but no, off the roadway is what the law says.
What makes this such and issue? What makes the text messages so important? I personally know of someone who says it makes them a better driver! I’m sorry but anything that makes you take your eyes off the road and hands off the steering wheel is distracting you from what you’re supposed to be doing; driving your vehicle. They can complain it’s their right. Bull! Driving is a privilege and not a right, courts have long ago decided that. And to use that privilege you have to obey the laws. I know someone from the United Kingdom and the whole country is hands free. That’s right you can’t even hold your cell phone to talk! The police can’t even hold a radio mic and use push to talk buttons on the steering wheel. Even a driver who is slightly impaired by alcohol is at least trying to drive good to avoid getting caught!
Please wait until you get to your destination to start those text messages or do like the law says and pull off the road if they’re that important. Not texting while driving is more than just a good idea, here in Georgia it’s even a law.
Please feel free to share this post, especially with those who give excuses why it’s not dangerous to text and drive.