Things People do While Driving
Written in 2006
As a people watcher, I tend to like to observe people in their day-to-day lives. One thing I notice is people driving to and from work. When this post was written, I drove 25 miles one way to work via the Interstate every day. Along the way, I have run across some rather interesting things people do as they drive down the road.
I have seen scores of people taking on the cellular phone, which I have been known to do from time to time. My wife and I invested in hands-free devices for our phones, which is actually the second thing I put on when I get into the car, after the seatbelt. What I really found amazing was the time I noticed a man driving while talking on two cell phones, one in each hand, while cruising North on the Interstate at around 75 miles per hour. Not sure how he was driving the car, well enough managing to keep the two conversations straight. On average, I run across about 1 in every 25 cars where someone is not paying attention to the road but instead to the conversation, they are having on the cell phone. I can understand why many states want to pass legislation making it illegal to talk on your phone without a hands-free while driving.
I have also seen men shaving with electric razors, but what amazed me the most was one day I drove past a man who was wet shaving as he drove his rather large automobile north along the Interstate at speeds greater than 65 miles an hour. I thought I had seen it all but was I sorely mistaken? I have seen women applying makeup, curling their hair with portable butane curling irons, painting fingernails and even putting in contact lenses. Putting on contact lenses, now I wear contacts and it takes both of my hands and makes my vision blurry for a few seconds until my eyes adjust. So how could she be doing this while driving? I guess that I am just not that talented, or maybe it is an IQ point thing as if maybe I actually have some.
Now I have been late to work my share of times, but I am never in such a hurry that I have to finish getting ready for work as I am driving my car. As I stated before, I drive just over 50 miles round trip to and from work Monday through Friday. On occasion, I have drank my morning soda (I don’t drink coffee, but need the caffeine to wake up), but I once saw this man, pouring coffee out of a glass coffee pot (yes, coffee pot) into his coffee cup as he drove faster than the rest of traffic, passing me and many other cars as he poured his coffee. I bet that would sting if he had to stop quickly.
I have seen several women dressing as they drove down the Interstate. One woman had even stripped down to her bra and put on a button-down blouse, all as she sped down the highway. I have seen several couples doing things that they should only be doing in the privacy of their home or in a hotel room.
One time was a young woman straddling a man as he drove down the road. The other was a young couple in a pick-up truck, the driver was weaving back and forth and the passenger had her head on the driver’s lap. Of course, it is possible that the passenger was tired. I have even pulled next to a woman who was naked or at least topless as she drove down the interstate wearing a very large smile and not much else. That is the third time I have seen that, but only once at highway speeds.
I have seen people reading maps, which I can almost understand, but I have seen people reading the daily newspaper or a novel as they drive, which I find completely absurd. Come on, honestly, is their life so busy that you have to read the paper as they drive? My life is no less or more busy than everyone else’s life. I work a full-time job for the Government, I work a second full-time job running my own business, I coach soccer (my son’s team), and I’m also a leader in my son’s scout troop. Not to mention that I am on call 24×7 for the Government job and my business. Oh did I mention that I am a pretty damn good father to my two children? I try very hard to include my family in everything that I do and spend time with them whenever I can.
I can only imagine that those people reading as they drive must have a much busier schedule than the rest of us in the world. They must be the ones who cannot find the time to help coach or participate in their children’s lives.
The other day, while driving on Route 3 on my way back from the neighboring County, I passed this woman in a minivan, who was watching a Disney show with her child as she drove. The child who was at least safely secured in its seat in the back of the van was watching on a screen behind the passenger’s seat and the mother had a screen attached to the windshield. That has to be distracting, not to mention illegal.
Update: Fast forward some 15 years since this was originally written, and nothing has changed. More people are using their cell phones (and it is now illegal in my state). I see more people watching TV or movies while commuting to work. I still see people having sex and reading books. However, I have not run into the two-handed cell phone guy again.