I drink coffee and drive

I am dumb. I admit it. I have allowed myself to be distracted while driving. Just about everyone drinks coffee and drives so what is the problem? The hazard of that coffee comes when you are paying more attention to it then the road. It might be the bagel you are unwrapping that accompanied the coffee. It could be an unexpected bump that causes a splash of hot coffee at the worst possible time.

What else distracts us when driving? Sometimes it is just so hard not to get caught up in a conversation with whoever is riding shotgun. There has even been a near miss because of a particularly good tune on the radio and the "car dancing" got pretty intense. As well I don't think many women could say that they have not been distracted once or twice by one of the following:

  • Applying a quick coat of lipstick
  • A quick touch-up of the hairstyle
  • Adjusting the radio frequency or volume
  • Checking one's purse for a credit card, grocery list or cash
  • Dealing with children either whining, crying, fighting or "goofing around"
  • Dealing with the in-vehicle TV system
  • Trying to calm a fussy baby
  • Drinking a coffee
  • Light a cigarette (there's a lot less of that going on now)
  • Grab a sandwich out of a container
  • Answer a phone
  • Pick out a tune on the Ipod
  • Checking a map or inputting to the GPS
  • Adjusting a piece of clothing or underwear
  • Fido climbing up on your lap to stick his head out your driver window

Men can also be distracted drivers. They just don't seem to provide "taxi service" to the children as often. If you are in Atlantic Canada and you get a chance to try out the DUMB Car 2.0 simulator you will see first hand how unsafe it is to try and do more then driving when you are behind the wheel. Fido and the kids should be wearing their seat belts and staying in their seats!

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is touring the Atlantic portion of Canada this year. Last year it was Albertans who got the opportunity to try out the video game while sitting behind the wheel of a simulated vehicle. It was a real eye opener.

It is a great program because it is a bit of fun at first but rapidly becomes quite intense as you try to keep control of the vehicle while following the directions of the student ambassadors. The students have you doing everything from answering your phone to searching for a grocery list. While this is going on the video monitor has other vehicles and pedestrians interacting with you. Sometimes it does not turn out well.

Education can be fun. The impact of trying out this simulator is that it will make you a more aware driver. We tend to forget the simple things as we focus on the "big picture" of dealing with rush hour traffic and construction sites. Do take the time to try this free demonstration if it comes to a neighbourhood near you.

You may not give up the cup of "Timmy's" that is part of your daily routine. The point of this is that you become aware of the potential distraction and control the situation.