Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Reading while driving

By Amanda Gillooly
O-R Staff Writer

I’m hardly one to preach about highway safety issues. I’m car insurance poor, and my Dodge POS has the dings and scratches to prove it. I’ve gotten speeding tickets, a citation for running a red light (I kept telling the nice officer it was merely yellow…) and I’ve gotten hit broadside by a huge utility van. I’ve rear-ended a parked car, and I’ve locked my keys in my car several times – but luckily, the engine was only running during one of those experiences.

But I’ve never driven impaired. I don’t want to downplay the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but motorists can be just as dangerous when they’re under the influence of stupidity. I experience these “DUIS” motorists everyday as I cruise the 30-some miles from my palace on Neville Island to my pod on North Main in WashPa. While I understand that we live in a society where multitasking is a given, there are some activities that just need to wait.

I guess I’m not an innocent. I’ve applied lip gloss and swept my eyelashes with black mascara while behind the wheel. But I was at a red light. Promise. But reading the newspaper? No good.

When I reached the Washington County line this morning, I encountered a beige sedan cruising at…wait for it…49 mph. “OK,” I thought. “You can’t fault a man for being cautious.” About 10 seconds after processing that thought, the dude’s car began slowly weaving between the white lines. Not wanting to add any more incidents to my driving resume, I clicked on my left turn signal and slipped into the passing lane.

Out of morbid curiosity, I glanced over at the driver and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The guy had the newspaper spread across his steering wheel. That would explain the weaving, I thought. But my question remains: Aren’t there more comfortable places to read the headlines? My podmate and friend, Barb Miller, had a better question...

“Were they at least reading the Observer-Reporter?” she asked.

That, I guess, would be the silver lining.

1 comment:

Scott Beveridge said...

I confess to having read the newspaper on more than one occasion while driving on Route 51 in West Mifflin.