Sitting at the red stop light, I noticed in the side view mirror, a car barreling toward me going at least 45 MPH and not slowing down.
The driver was in the other lane next to me and all I could think to do was lay on my horn.
That didn’t help.
Cars were crossing the intersection as I watched in horror for the accident about to happen.
As the car flew past me, my horn still blaring, this guy just kept of going the same speed, never braking, and in slow motion I looked over as he passed me –
In a split second my initial thought was confirmed – he’s on his phone!
Looking down at his freaking phone.
He’s going to kill someone.
And then, he plowed through the intersection…
Somehow, by a miracle, he didn’t hit anyone, as the car coming toward him from the left slammed on it’s brakes, we all watched, horrified, as the offender never once tapped his brakes, and just kept on driving down the road.
He had no idea what he’d just almost done.
I was stunned to think there was nothing I could do, and grateful to see no one was injured.
I was even more blown away to think that guy is just obliviously still driving on down the road!!!
He was too distracted by his phone.
Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment –
Perhaps it was an emergency he was dealing with…
Maybe he was being followed by a drone overhead that showed a clear path for him, via phone, that he could easily get through the red light without hitting anyone…
Or possibly he has a direct connection over that phone to a higher power that said you’re all good, don’t stop at any red lights, I’ve got you covered and your insurance is amazing anyway….
I can jokingly consider any “benefit of the doubt” objective for why he was driving with his face down and phone in his sights only, but none of them are a good enough excuse to me.
When we drive, we must be alert, attentive, and aware of our surroundings.
This may seem obvious to a reasonable human, but I’ve seen most drivers, locally and countrywide, driving this very same way.
Phone up, eyes down, car veering between multiple lanes, racing through stop lights, or…sitting completely stopped at green lights as we all sit behind them wondering when they’ll be done with their Facebook scrolling and start driving!
I don’t think they’re all certifiable idiots, although I yell that they are.
I even once pulled up to notice the person on the phone was a very successful, intelligent, busy person and community pillar, and was shocked he drives this way.
It is terrifying to think this is “normal”.
Truth is: It shouldn’t be normal, it is illegal, and perhaps we need to change the law to a citizen’s arrest model which helps us turn in people where all police can’t see them at once?
I don’t know how to get people to not do this, but I know having just attended my son’s Drivers Education mandatory meeting about why we shouldn’t drive with phones in our hands, I don’t think I’ll ever look at my phone ever again…even while sitting stopped at a red light, which is illegal as well!
If you’ve ever been to the Drivers Ed parent meeting to see the terribly honest and grotesque videos they show children of the results of driving with a phone in hand, the death and carnage that can result, then you may be traumatized like me.
I think this should be mandatory viewing for every person with a license, and perhaps should be seen annually, along with a drivers test upon renewal at your birthdate.
I’m all for it.
The only law, change, or person I have total control over is: ME.
My Promise is to NEVER drive like running the red light guy.
That’s not some goal I set…
It’s a Non-Negotiable, no way in heck will I, Promise.
Why? Because I used to be that guy.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but yes, I’ve driven and looked at the phone, and had a few close calls with other cars that really could have hurt someone.
Once I started teaching my kids about safe driving, I realized I had to be the example they could follow.
Do I slip once in a while? Yes, but it’s rare, and I’ve finally come to a full stop on it.
What is the solution for me?
I put my phone on the charging cable that is so short it barely allows me to look at it, and stick it in the console away from me, and have the phone in silent mode.
That’s my plan of action. That’s being accountable – to myself, and everyone around me.
It’s hard to do, because driving, traffic, dings and pings from phones can be very easy to reach over and scroll away.
But not anymore for me. I’m in charge of me.
What’s your Promise when it comes to things like this? So simple, so mundane, yet so life-threatening and important.
My hope is that my example will rub off on my kids, my friends, my family, and we can someday drive on safe roads.
Until then, I’ll be laying on the horn and yes, unashamedly be THAT GUY, until everyone starts looking at the road again.
What’s your Promise as a driver?
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Project Coach
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
- Author of “The Promise To The One”