As most of you know I’m often on the road travelling, so the subject I’m about to write about, though darker than usual, is particularly relevant and important.
A few days ago I received a phone call from my 20yo daughter who’s living and working in the High Country of Victoria. She’d just arrived home from her morning shift and seen the aftermath of an accident. It had happened only minutes earlier, on the Great Alpine Road at Eurobin, barely 100 metres from the gate of the property where she lives.
A Winnebago had slammed into a huge tree, killing the sole occupant, a 60 year old woman instantly. My daughter was in tears, the scene clearly devastating. I too shed tears as I tried to console her over the phone. I could barely imagine the anguish of the woman’s family, who had been travelling behind her at the time.
We spoke a bit about what happened and more generally about the risks involved every time we step into a car. She’s often on the road for work and travelling to and from Melbourne and my 17yo son is currently learning how to drive so I’m always reminding them to be safe and responsible drivers.
I don’t know the cause of the accident at Eurobin, perhaps it was fatigue or a lapse of concentration. I don’t want to speculate because we all know it takes barely a split second for something to go wrong. All I do know is I felt extreme sadness.
Later that day, speaking to my daughter at length again, I was horrified to hear some of her stories. She told me how so many of her friends and acquaintances distract themselves, by choice, when they drive.
She told me that not only do they check and read messages while they drive, but they record and send videos. Apparently the latest and most common trend amongst teenagers is to record snap-chats while driving and show off the music they’re listening to in the car at the time.
In reality all they’re doing is putting everyone in danger, including whoever is travelling the other way. These non thinking drivers ‘could literally wipe out an entire family with their stupidity, all for the sake of showing their Snap-chat mates whatever shit music they’re listening to.’
My daughter told me she’s had countless arguments with smart arse drivers in the past, telling them how stupid it is to snap chat and drive. The response, she said, was usually laughter and a brush off.
Now most of you know that I love taking photos in the car but it’s always from the passenger seat or when the car is stopped. As for taking calls, I’ll be honest, I’ve been guilty of talking on my speakerphone, but I’ll think twice now about doing that.
Is it really that important to stay connected every minute of the day? Do we need to check emails and to know what’s going on in the world when we’re driving? The distraction and the consequences could be as dangerous as driving drunk.
Texting takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. That’s when accidents are more likely to happen.
The messages are clear. Take regular breaks when you drive and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your phone. If it rings and you have to answer it, pull over when it’s safe and don’t ever text whilst driving. The risks and consequences are way too high.
When we’re connected to our devices we’re disconnected from our world.
We could be totally disconnected from the world with one downward look or swipe. Bottom line, when you’re on the road, keep your eyes on the road.
My heart goes out to anyone who’s suffered any sort of loss as a result of a car accident. Let’s all do our part to keep the roads safe.
Life is far too precious.
Stay safe and drive carefully so we can all enjoy the journey.
In light and love.
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Outanabout YOLO “You only live once”