Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Power of the Buzz

Logic as well as the experts will tell you that it is dangerous to text while driving. Radio and TV ads dramatically point out what should be the obvious … take your eyes off the road and you’re an accident waiting to happen. Texting while driving can lead to serious injury or death, yours or someone else’s. You might think you can multitask like that but you can’t.

I fully understand the temptation, however. It is difficult to ignore a cell phone on vibrate. It demands attention, often at the worst possible moment. Is that a cell phone in your pocket or are you just glad someone is calling you?

Twenty minutes into my fifty-minute commute this afternoon my pocket buzzes. Bzz, bzz. That’s the text message alert. I don’t text with that many people so I have a pretty good idea it is a reply to a text I sent earlier. I want to read it. Texts from this person are usually fun to read. Or it might be from another friend I regularly text and that could be a witty update on life in the deep south. Or it might be a text from work alerting me to a problem that needs my attention. Or it might just be a text from my dentist’s new appointment reminder service.

But I’m driving, slowly because it’s afternoon rush, but moving just the same. I have to actually argue with myself … should I reach for the phone to see who is texting me? Then do I read it? Is 20 mph slow enough to do this safely? Hell NO!!! You’ve heard the ads, you’ve seen the statistics! If it’s the first person I mentioned, the reply was hours after the original text so a reply from me can wait till I’m home. If it’s from the second person, that can wait too; texting with that friend is usually just a once a week thing. If it’s from work and it’s immediate, it would have been a voice call, which is slightly safer to handle while driving than a text.

So I wisely waited. But the temptation was definitely there. The power of the buzz is strong.

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