I am often dumbfounded when I hear the story about a real estate mogul who purchased a bad land investment or the head of a governmental ethics committee committing an unethical act. In each of these instances you would think that individual would be so immersed in the environment that straying from core principles would be nearly impossible. They know the facts, the consequences, and the stories! So how does one fall into that trap? In a moment of personal confession I must accept that like so many others I too have fallen.
At FleetMode we are immersed in a world of driving accountability. Everyone’s phones are equipped with the consumer application AT&T DriveMode preventing texting and driving, we see the horrific statistics on distraction related accidents, and everyday the very mission of our company is to save lives and yet somehow I managed to allow a piece of technology to distract me on the road. On the way to a local conference I decided to use my Garmin GPS to direct me to the venue. My phone was silent, there were no screaming kids in my back seats, or a burger in my left hand. I was alone, driving down a road I have driven well over a thousand times. My GPS unit wasn’t mounted instead it sat haphazardly on my center console. Traffic was pretty bad that day and looked down at my unit just to ensure there wasn’t a better route. My eyes left the road for no more then a split second when I looked up and saw a Florida license plate and the growing glow of red tail lights. I slammed on my breaks but by then it was too late and I bumped into the car in front of me. Fortunately I had good breaks and fortunately traffic had not yet been moving fast so there was no damage beyond a little dirt on the bumper. The guy was super understanding and we parted ways without any exchange of information. This was a best case scenario.
The rest of the car ride to the conference… the very conference I was about to discuss the dangers of distracted driving… I had quite the realization of how dangerous distracted driving could really be. In all the data I am bombarded with, all the statistics, even some of the anecdotes everything felt so far away, as if I was somehow insulated because I worked for a company that helped prevent that sort of behavior. I never would have imagined that I could fall victim. I think most of us that see the NO TEXTING AND DRIVING billboard we nod our heads in acknowledgment and then give it no further thought as we check our email on our smartphone while turning onto the on ramp. The fact remains a distracted driving accident can happen to anyone. If I had been going faster or if I had been reading an entire text message or trying to respond who knows the kind of damage that could have been caused. The potential injuries. Next time you step into your vehicle remember to avoid those distractions so you don’t join the statistics. I certainly did.