A Deadly Text

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.

Learning how to drive responsibly is more than just about driving on the right side of the road

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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149 thoughts on “A Deadly Text

  1. What a shock for your daughter. I get so angry when I see people blatantly talking on mobiles when driving and unfortunately a lot of them are truck drivers. There is absolutely no excuse with hands free available, but I don’t even use that. Sadly people think they’re bullet proof until it’s too late sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m with you on this one Miriam … but I’m heaps more detached from mobile distractions preferring to leave mine at home or turn it off when driving … life is already too short so why risk this type of suicide/murder?
    It’s murder when you kill another and that’s usually the outcome of road accidents 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Miriam, I feel for your daughter and the horrendous crash so close to her abode. It is so unnecessary, a life lost and so many ruined. With a son the same age as yours and also learning to drive I am more than ever conscious of the dangers of driving … before the insane distracting elements which you mention. Snap chatting whilst behind the wheel! Taking photos! A few of my son’s friends have got their licence. One drove them to a ball, and nearly ended up in the ditch … I think he’s learnt a big lesson and is more careful now. I join you in calling for everyone to do their part in keeping our roads safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Annika. I think anyone with kids of driving age would worry these days. It’s hard enough for them to learn, without all the distractions and temptations that a mobile phone carries. Sometimes a bit of a scary lesson (so long as everyone’s ok) is just what’s needed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Even cyclists and pedestrians here in Graz, Austria, have their noses superglued to their smartphones, totally unaware of the traffic dangers and don’t seem to care, even blaming the other person if there is a close call ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wise words Miriam.. Here they have made it a law not to Drive and use the mobile phone.. If you are caught you get a fine and points added to your licence.. Exceed a number of points and your licence is taken off you..
    But Does it make any difference! NO… The worst of it is I see young mothers taking their children to school still on their phones, despite them knowing its against the law . Putting their children and others at risk..
    But it seems many are addicted to their devices… I see mothers pushing pushchairs with young babies in not looking where they are going, while toddlers are walking without having their hand held at the side..
    Once I was sat at the traffic lights where there was a pelican crossing.. you know Pedestrian crossing with Lights etc. LOL.. Anyone reading not understanding Pelican may think it a bird haha.. Just made me laugh out loud as I read my words,
    Any way.. She pressed the button,, never looked up the child was only about 4 at her side. She still didn’t look up waiting to hear the beep of the lights to tell her to go.. She went, but the child was busy looking the other way.. The Lights changed and the child was still on the other side.. Then she looked up, We all at the lights didn’t budge fearing the child might run out thankfully I was in front and another woman driver, we exchanged glances with a shake of our heads.. .. She then looks back sees the child not with her runs back and slaps the child for not coming with her.. You could see how furious she was as we drivers in two lanes sat waiting as then the drivers behind us honked their horns because we hadn’t moved.. CRAZY!!…
    I see it every day here ..
    There have been some reported horrendous accidents involving multiple casualties because drivers, including lorry drivers who have been texting and changing play lists on phones..
    So I totally agree with all you have said Miriam.. So pleased to learn your daughter has a sensible head on her shoulders.. No doubt which comes from her Mum.. 🙂

    ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s laws in place here as well Sue. Get caught with your mobile phone while driving and there’s hefty fines, loss of points and potential license loss too. But you’re right, so many people think they won’t get caught and mostly they don’t. It’s too easy to hide their phones if they’re pulled over.
      Yes, I see the same thing as you. Mothers more concerned with their phones than their kids, although your story about the girl and her mum at the pedestrian (or Pelican lol) crossing really took the cake. Honestly, some mothers need a wake up call. So crazy!
      Makes you wonder what it’s going to take before they wake up. Sadly I think I know. 😒

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I totally agree with you, Miriam. There shouldn’t be a denial about life’s importance than a text message or phone call while traveling on the road.
    I do own a smartphone myself but when I’m driving, I place it away from me because as a newbie driver, I don’t want to hurt myself, my family or anyone else on the road while trying to capture the surroundings of my travels.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is a cautionary tale indeed Miriam and so relevant. I hope your daughter is OK, it’s an awful shock when something like that happens. I agree wholeheartedly with you about this sort of dangerous stupidity – life’s too short!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Distracted driving. Everyone thinks they can do it, until they are proven wrong.
    I’m sorry your daughter had to witness such a terrible accident. What a sweet heart she has to have been so affected. Sometimes the best lessons we learn, we learn from others’ mistakes.
    She will be a great example to her friends if she doesn’t get caught up in all the social media silliness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree Wendy, the best lessons are from others mistakes. I don’t think she’ll get caught up in the silliness. She’s seen too much and she’s got a sensible head on her shoulders.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you for sharing Miriam. You are so right. It’s practically an epidemic. Research has proven these distractions are killing people practically everywhere we travel. We have to consciously remind ourselves to resist the temptation to pick up the phone while driving. We were able to do it before we had the mobile phones so what has changed? I can hardly wait for autonomous vehicles (or semi-autonomous) that provide technology to counter our lack of responsibility while driving.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So very true. Years ago we had no mobile phones so that distraction wasn’t there. In many ways we were much more focused then. A down side of the phone and a sad fact of reality these days. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I am so sorry your daughter had to see that, Miriam. Her poor little heart. I don’t understand what is wrong with everyone, this need to be so connected at all times. I grew up in the 80’s, graduated in 1989 with good friends and none of us had a cell phone and our friendships were solid. We managed just fine actually talking and being together. . I long for those days, to be honest. Lots of love to you and your girl. She is so lucky she has you to guide her. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a nice thing to say Tanya but you’re right and I know what you mean. I grew up without a phone and coped just fine but I guess times change don’t they? All we can hope for is that people learn that they’re not the be all and end all. Take care. xo

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Sad to hear this. Any accident caused by being distracted due to a cell phone should never happen. Selfish, thoughtless, and criminal behaviour. Doesn’t say much about modern life when some individuals consider being on social media trumps the safety of fellow citizens…
    Your daughter sounds shaken but very sensible, and perhaps between you, you’ve helped one or two others think about their responsibilities.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. So sorry for the woman’s family and for your daughter witnessing the aftermath. It is so good to see how sensible she is and that seems very reassuring. Over here it is against the law to operate a mobile device, ipad, laptop or gaming device whilst driving.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. What a tragic story Miriam. It is so true, I think people today are really foolish when it comes to driving. I always see people driving and texting or reading their phones and it just makes me furious. They are risking their lives but also others so it is so unfair. We have yet to ban cellphone use while driving in our state. It didn’t pass. Of course the phone lobby is powerful (just like our gun lobby) but I know that if you are caught the penalty is huge.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I touched on a similar theme in my last post…our need for constant connection often divorces us from the beauty of nature but your post does indeed remind us of the permanent disconnection we or others might experience if we drive distracted! How sad for your daughter to have witnessed such a tragic loss…

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I live near Woodstock NY in the US, and in NY and NJ they actually have relabelled some rest stops places as ‘text stops’, so instead of looking at the natural beauty, you can do cellphone rubbish to prove you were there for a minute. It’s better than the alternative in some ways, and some of the text stops are on the NJ Turnpike, which is all pollution and wasteland anyhow now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Text stops. I haven’t heard of that before but it’s not a bad idea I guess, if you need to catch up on whatever you need to do online. Definitely better than the alternative of doing it on the road.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. A sad story indeed. I’ve taken to leaving my phone at home when I run errands or even go out for lunch with friends , definitely leave it at home when I go for walks etc. As you say Miriam “Is it really that important to stay connected every minute of the day?” I don’t think so, sadly I think it is an addiction (or a way of life) for some. It’s all very disappointing.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. What an awful event for your daughter to witness. An accident such as that can happen so easily and yet can leave such devastation in its wake. It brings to mind a time when my daughter was travelling in a car with a driver who was texting on the freeway! The freeway! She couldn’t believe it but as she didn’t know the driver very well, didn’t feel she could say anything. I’m just glad no one was hurt. As another commenter mentioned, I look forward to driverless cars in the hope that society’s constant distraction is no longer a big issue on the roads. At least for cars anyway. Pedestrians and truckies are another matter. I wonder what it will take to change this behaviour? Life seemed a lot simpler back in the day! Haha! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Kim, yes life was definitely much simpler without all our devices. I guess progress in technology comes with a price and unfortunately sometimes it’s the ultimate price. It’s up to all of us how we want to use it, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sorry to hear about the woman. Your daughter is right about the teenagers these days when driving. It’s scary. I know it so well and try my best to be alert and do defensive driving. Hope your daughter is okay.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. So sad! This is a great post. It’s so easy to be a distracted driver especially with all the options we have at our fingertips in our cars now. Thank you so much for sharing this important reminder. Big hugs to your daughter!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Thanks for this reminder, Miriam! There was a time when I used to fear elderly and drunken drivers the most, but now it’s the young ones, because they are almost always texting while driving! They believe they have the ability to “multi-task” and so it’s not really dangerous. But they are so wrong….
    All it takes is one accident, and someone’s life is either over, or ruined, and all because someone else couldn’t wait a few minutes to read or send a text. If it’s that important, just pull over into the nearest parking lot, send the text, then put the phone away and get back to driving!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Crazy behaviour isn’t it? Can’t believe that anyone could be stupid enough to text or snapchat whilst they are driving but so many people do. It’s not just teenagers either. I see so many adults texting from businessmen racing to meetings to mums on the school run. Nothing can be that important as to risk your life and other peoples.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Yes. It is the fact that someone is putting OTHER people’s lives in jeopardy that particularly upsets me when I see someone driving and texting (or otherwise taking their eyes off the road to focus on the screen of their device/phone). Your blog post is sadly and deeply relevant. thank you for writing and then sharing it with all of us. I don’t own a car and either walk or ride my bike most of the time. This gives me more opportunities (since I am traveling relatively slowly) to spot people whose attention is distracted. Yikes! Our social mores and laws are slow to catch up with our new technologies…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m afraid you’re quite right Will. Although there are laws and penalties in place for those caught on their devices they don’t seem to be having much of an impact. Stick to riding your bike, I think you’re much safer than most car users and probably enjoying the scenery more as well.

      Like

  22. I was nearly killed by a man who was on the phone and not looking at the road. He was going fishing for the day and driving alongside the lake. He was looking to see if he could see his mates sitting around the lake. So he accidentally travelled into my side of the road. I suffered many broken bones and a fractured spine and took 5 years to recover. I had to learn to walk again as the fracture had damaged my spinal cord. Luckily I was rescued by an air ambulance which had a spinal surgeon on board and he treated me at the scene to minimise the damage. I was only in a wheelchair for one year. However, long term, I now have osteoporosis which is starting to cause me problems now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Heartbreaking. Your story is a potent and powerful reminder of the tragedies that can happen from people not concentrating whilst driving. Thank you for sharing your story Karen. I wish you all the very best in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. With all the warnings against being on the phone — especially texting — while driving, plus commonsense, I don’t understand why so many people still do it. Is it just dumb behavior or is something else involved?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. A very sad incident near your daughter’s property. Driving is something that needs to be taken seriously no matter how confident a driver you are or how long you have driven. The road is a different game each and every second, and throw in the weather it really is unpredictable how any drive can turn out. It is really crazy how some like to video and take photos as they are driving, and even the passengers who do it can be distracting. Hopefully all of us learn to be a bit more safe on the roads. Hope your daughter feels better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mabel. I agree with you. Being behind the wheel is a huge responsibility and it’s something I’ve always stressed to my kids. And you’re right, no matter how long we’ve been driving we can never be blasé about it.

      Like

    2. You’re spot on about the risks of not taking driving seriously. I quit driving years ago after realizing I was a very poor driver and unlikely to get much better. I figured I’d get someone killed someday if I stuck with it.

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      1. Thanks, Paul. Driving can be improved if you can practice. But it’s certainly not for everyone. It’s sort of like riding a bike – sometimes you just can’t get the hang of it. I really do avoid driving if I can.

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  25. Hi Miriam, How sad and scary and what an important message. I am astounded by the dangerous and frivolous attitudes of drivers texting and doing everything but keeping their eyes on the road. It is ignorant and scary. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh my goodness, Miriam… I am so sorry this happened. But thank you for writing about it and speaking about it with the gravity it deserves. It’s alarming how many accidents are being caused from texting and social media now adays. I was just changing the radio station when I totaled my car a few years ago. This is so important. Thank you again for writing about it, and I pray your daughter is okay after witnessing something so tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mack, it is important I agree. As you know yourself from what happened to you a few years ago, it doesn’t take much for something serious to happen. My daughter’s fine but I don’t think she’ll forget this in a hurry. Take care

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Gosh- what a horrible accident to witness. Devastating! They’ve really clamped down on using the mobile phone without ‘hands free’ in the UK but I know loads of people are using the phone while driving to make films – It never ceases to amaze me why this doesn’t seem to have been picked up and the video clips are all over Facebook and Youtube. x

    Liked by 1 person

  28. The more people that write about this subject the better. It’s not an uncommon conversation between Nikki and I while driving somewhere to go something like, “look at that driver texting, there’s another, oh look another one.” I’ve seen people taking selfies at red lights and then the light turns green and they start to drive with the phone still up to their face. Being in the building industry, I know how attached to their phones most builders are. I know that most of their communication is by text and that they are always running between job sites. Mix that with all the small highways and farm to market roads around here, and it’s not uncommon to have a big jacked up truck fly by you going 15-20 MPH over the speed limit with a phone in one hand and lunch in the other.

    Thank you for using your forum to shed light on the subject. Travel safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a scary scenario you painted Steve and sadly one that’s not uncommon even around here. Seems it’s a universal problem and it makes me wonder what it’s going to take before people wake up to themselves that driving with phones attached to them simply don’t mix. Thanks for joining in the conversation. Take care out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Thank you for the reminder to drive, just drive. Our electronics are indeed a distraction…. young or old. I often drive over 350 miles one way and I can’t tell you how many times I have driven past a driver who’s on the phone or simply has their phone in their hand…. it’s jot just teenagers, though some of their car and phone behavior is very risky. I have 20 year old and a 15 year old – the 15 year old will be getting her license soon….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Clay, yes I can relate . My two kids are 20 and 17 and I often worry about them on the roads, especially my 20yo who’s constantly driving. She’s sensible but there are so many others that aren’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Senseless tragedy! I hate thinking that there are teens out on the roads snapchatting or whatever it is they are doing while driving! Unfortunately, for some of our youth, there is no cure for their stupidity but time, if they and we are lucky enough for them to get the time for them to grow up and mature! Still, there are just as many adult jackasses out there that are just as bad! This is a timely post at least in the US because it’s summer break, which means a lot of people are out driving on vacations! I’m sorry your daughter had to witness that awful accident. I hope everyone stays safe both on and off the roads!

    Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts here Mona. This is such an important topic and I just hope that people, of all ages, are more mindful when they’re driving. Take care out there.

      Like

  31. Such a horrible thing to have happened to your daughter, Miriam. Here in the UK, it’s against the law to hold a mobile phone whilst driving. However, many drivers still do it. What annoys me most, though, is that the fines and punishment for being caught holding a mobile phone whilst driving are not tough enough. Raise the fine to a couple of thousand pounds, and ban the driver who committed the offence from driving for 6 months, and I bet we’d see instant results.
    If I’m driving, I now always turn my phone off. I don’t switch it on again until I’ve left the car. If somebody really does want to contact me, then leave me a message and I’ll get back ASAP. Isn’t this how it happened during pre-mobile phone days? From what I’ve seen and heard, life went on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right Hugh. I remember driving to and from Melbourne many years ago, three hours both ways, with no phone and I always coped fine. And I agree with you about the penalties. They’re nowhere near tough enough to deter drivers and rogue phone users. Things have to change bug time I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Such an important message, that needs to be said. Over and over and over again. Do NOT text or use the phone while driving. This is such a scary thing, a really scary part of this tech world we live in. Sorry your daughter had to see the accident scene, that can be horrifying. And terrifying about the Snapchats while driving. Thanks for this post Miriam!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really is an important message and I just wish that people would listen and understand the risks involved every time they take their phones out while driving. Thanks for adding your voice here Jenny.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. A deeply profound and thoughtful message dearest Miriam, and one we can all do with reminding of 🙏🏻 it’s so sad to know that some drivers prioritise their interactions over staying safe, perhaps the most devastating is the inevitable disconnection that occurs in the event of an accident… thank you for bringing more awareness to this far too common occurrence 🙏🏻😔 xx

    Liked by 1 person

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