Recently a colleague of mine did the unthinkable and tried to send a text while driving on the local-area bobsled course (a.k.a. Route 1 South) on the way home from work. While I know nothing about the text – whether it was urgent, important or other – I do know it caused my colleague to not-so-gently rear-end the car in front of him as he wasn’t able to brake fast enough when the car in front was making a turn. I was relieved to find out that nothing other than the front grill of my colleague’s car – and his pride – was hurt in this incident.
This is a serious reason why, despite the perceived importance of all communications flowing in and out of our mobile devices – and public relations is a business that thrives on the exchange of information, checking these tools while driving isn’t logical.
While significantly less life-threatening, here’s another good example of chaos that has resulted from checking a phone while driving:
I traveled to New York today for meetings in the afternoon and evening. I have a PMDA board meeting tomorrow – one that I’m very much looking forward to – and scheduled meetings around it as I typically do. Unfortunately, I had some hiccups getting to the city – and my very bad habit of checking my phone while driving is to blame.
Driving from our office in Newburyport, I checked my phone at the precise time I was supposed to bear left on Route 95 South and accidentally took the exit on the right side for Route 128 North. At first blush, that’s really not a big deal. I should have easily been able to take the first exit and head back toward the airport. However, that turnaround activity took five minutes – a crucial five minutes when weather patterns threaten the airways and Delta Shuttle flights are being cancelled with good regularity.
Here’s how things went at the airport once I arrived: naturally, I missed the 9:30 AM by less than five minutes. Then the 10:30 and 11:30 AM flights were cancelled. I arrived in New York late. (Like, very late.) I had to reschedule my afternoon appointment to the evening, and the evening appointment to even later in the night. All of this unnecessary scheduling ridiculousness and a really long day spent trying to get to New York – all due to the fact that I had to check my phone at the 128 North/95 South split.
I’m certain that what I was reading at the time was important and meaningful in some way, but I’m equally certain it would have been just as important if I read it at the airport when I arrived. While I’ve learned my lesson, I suspect I’ll see someone at the airport today with that same pained expression. Oh well…