Friday 15 May 2015

Crossy road

One of my favourite bumper stickers says “HANG UP AND DRIVE!”  There are very few phone calls that absolutely must be made while driving, and even fewer text messages that simply must be sent.  Even using a hands-free device doesn't help you keep your concentration where it belongs nearly as much as you may believe it does.  Probably 99.99% of mobile phone-related accidents could be avoided if people simply set their phones aside and concentrated on the road like they were taught to do.

But I saw a similar bumper sticker recently that infuriated me, and I'll be goddamned if I'm going to keep my stupid mouth shut about it:

HA HA!  It’s totally hilarious, right?  HA HA!  Oh my, I laughed and laughed.  Har dee fucking har har.  Make a fucking knee-slapping joke about drunk driving, something that kills and maims thousands of people every single year.  I wanted to jump out of my car onto their hood, climb into their car, rip off their steering wheel, and beat them with it.

Fortunately I was parked in a lot and the driver of the offending car was nowhere to be seen.  Even more fortunately, I wouldn't actually ever assault anyone.  I don't think.

Anyway, after screaming and fuming and ranting and raving like a deranged lunatic, I started actually thinking about why I was so incensed.  And after ruminating for a while, I realised that the reason I was so angry is that the bump you just hit that caused you to spill your drink might have been a pedestrian who wasn’t looking where he was going because he was looking down at his phone while crossing the street.

I think everyone would agree that drunk driving is bad, and distracted driving is bad, and drunk walking is bad.  But what everyone on the planet seems to be forgetting these days is that distracted walking can be just as bad.

This leads (yes, finally) to my point:


Unless you live in the Brazilian rainforest, it is impossible to walk around without seeing people looking down at their phones - playing games, texting, tweeting, instagraming, snapchatting, or whatever the hell people do instead of looking up.  I’ve seen people walk into walls, trip over curbs, walk into people, and nearly get hit by cars, all because they weren’t looking where the hell they were going because they just had to update their Instagram with whatever the fuck they just ate.

Do you really think anyone gives a flying fuck how omg totally delish your lunch was?  Does anyone actually want to see a picture of your salad?  And if so, do you really need to upload the picture while crossing 4 lanes of traffic?

The number of pedestrians I’ve seen getting hit by cars has been skyrocketing over the last decade, and most of these traumas are preventable because these folks either 1) are still using their goddamned phones as they are wheeled into my trauma bay or 2) immediately ask where their goddamned phones are.

just got hit by a car going 2 hospital lol

Seriously, people?  Is everyone that willfully oblivious?  Is it really more important to take your next turn on whatever stupid game you're playing than to make sure you don’t get run down trying to cross the street?  Even Frogger was paying better attention to traffic than you are, and he was a goddamned 1980s 8-bit frog!
This is you on your goddamned phone
If you want to tune out your family and watch the latest fail video compilation on YouTube while you’re out to dinner, fine.  The only things you'll miss are conversation and real social interaction.

But when the meal is over, put it the fuck down and look the fuck up.


  1. It's not just pedestrians who have that problem, I've almost got hit by a car several times while crossing the street because the driver was texting while they where turning, and did not see the girl in the bright red jacket, who had the right-of-way, as she was crossing in the designated crosswalk.


  3. Once, after I nearly went through a red light due to inattention, my wife asked me how I ever managed to drive safely without her in the car.

    I didn't tell her that when she wasn't in the car, I wasn't trying to split my attention between driving and what she was saying.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I will admit to mindlessly wandering into traffic and bumping into people because I was playing on my phone. To be fair, I've walked into poles and tripped over curbs without a phone because I was daydreaming. We had a friend when I was a teen that would mindlessly follow like a lemming, we'd all stop at the intersection abruptly and watch him walk into traffic, then freak out as he raced back from oncoming cars. As an adult, it's probably still funny because no one got hurt. But if I saw my kids pulling that, we'd have words.

  6. Read along, nodded and agreed and gave all the distracted drivers, pedestrians and people of the world a good mental talking to ... and then I stumble across this link in the UK Mirror. Notice what the charges driver in the incident is holding IN HIS HAND?! Good grief, people!

  7. I've never done that with a phone or game, but I will tell you, ever since I was a child in the mid 90's, I've walked down the street with my nose in a book and never, so far as I know of, cause anything like the opening scene to Beauty and the Beast. It's not so much that people can't manage it, in fact every book-walker I've met (look I made up the term) will say they've almost never walked into anything. (Also Neil Gaiman made that claim so you know we're legit)

    But we're not in several tons of screaming death metal while we do it!

    1. Yep. Bookwalker here, accident free. I think it's because, for me, the book is wide and I hold it where I have a peripheral view of the world around me, including above the book. A phone is so narrow that your attention is focused all on one spot instead of a more broad vista. That's just me, though.

  8. Like Celeste, I am book-walker. Like her I have not walked into traffic or into anything. Although once, and my husband & son will NOT let me live it down, I fell down 4 stairs at a hotel. LOL Oh, and I was reading something soooooo interesting. A map. Because I can't read it while in the car. *sigh*

  9. My hobby: When someone in pedestrian traffic is walking towards me looking at the phone I stand still and wait until he or she hit me. Always fun to watch their flabbergasted faces...

    1. I somehow skipped "pedestrian" and was horrified/hoping you were being sarcastic! Then I re-read it, and yeah, that's funny :)

  10. I'm a book-walker too but I always make sure to look up while crossing intersections, etc. Somehow walls and bushes are my problem...

  11. There is a lot of opposition to texting behind the wheel. But pedestrian who aren’t looking where they were going on the street are equally guilty. Punishment for DWI is getting stricter. Maybe that would deter people from drunk driving. Nevertheless, if you are ever get arrested, you should look for DUI lawyer immediately to get out from legal trouble.

  12. I recently saw a bumper sticker similar to that one. I have a sense of humor too and thought it was funny. When I first read it, I imagined myself early in the morning heading to work with a big steaming cup of coffee on my lap. If you look at it that way, it’s really quite an amusing sign.

    Faith Brady @ KHunterLaw

  13. I agree that 99% of accidents related to distracted drivers could be avoided by putting down the phone. Drinking, texting, and driving make an even deadlier mix. I think the government should have a feature in all new cars that disables any mobile device from working while the car engine is running to eliminate some of the trouble.

    Eliseo Weinstein @ JR's Bail Bonds


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