In no particular order:

  • Cell phones
  • Grooming
  • Eating
  • Arguing
  • Looking for directions
  • Overtiredness
  • Road rage

Yes…I’m sure I’m guilty of all of these distractions…but none has distracted me as much as this one thing…none have caused me to drift into the left lane for a second or two (I was on an empty country road…in my own defense…)

Looking out the window.

That’s my #1 cause of distracted driving. Guilty. There’s so much in the world to look at. So much to experience. When you’re driving with the AC on and the music up, it’s easy to just kind of pass through amazing places without really noticing them. I take about the same roads to and from work every day…and nothing distinguishes one trip for another. It’s not until you roll down the windows to smell the fresh (or in the city, not so fresh) air. You experience the world as much as you can from your car. Which prompted me taking the “scenic” route home some days.There’s this jank road (pot holes, horrible tracks that require full stops before going over them, gravel roads, twisty turns, one-car-at-a-time bridges…) that runs parallel to the major road I take every day. Sure, the speed limit is 40 and you have to stop every 3 feet for a stop sign…but it’s the epitome of peace. I hardly ever see cars on it (which is why drifting into the left lane while I gazed out the window wasn’t that big of a deal…except that it just happened to be the one time another car was coming down the road…oops…) those tiny one car at a time bridges go over streams with calm waters. You can hear the wheat and corn stalks rustling in the wind. Large groups of birds sometimes fly overhead and I like to stare up at them as they pass over.

Yes. I am a driving hazard. I don’t deny it. I just like to experience the world around me. I hate when days…weeks…pass and not one is distinct from the other. I fear that if I (we) don’t slow down…I’m going to wake up one day and be like…so…what did I do these last 80 years of my life? I’m not sure…they all kind of blurred together.

I’m not going to promote staring out the windows while you drive…it’s seriously dangerous and after my little run in on the left side of the road, I’ve seriously reconsidered the length of time I let myself stare at one time before I look back at the road…but seriously…take a walk down a road that you routinely drive and notice it. You’ll be surprised how you see it differently.

As Sherlock would say…”You see but you don’t observe!”

So get observing!