Not a lot of people know this, but I don’t drive anymore. I have an odd eye problem that has caused me to lose a great deal of vision in both eyes, and it’s not safe for me to drive a car. If that sounds like a bummer, it’s because it is. My wife is a fine chauffeur, but having to get someone else to drive you everywhere is a pain for both of us. It’s not unlike being a kid again, without the benefit of not having to pay taxes.
Anyway, I always considered myself to be a safe driver. Luckily, I’ve never been in an accident. And I say luckily because I came close on more than one occasion, usually because of ice, and once because I swerved to avoid a family of ducks.
This morning I actually heard some statistics that make me think staying off the road isn’t such a bad idea.
Six in ten drivers say they’ve consumed alcohol while driving. That’s a pretty big percentage of people. And I don’t mean that somebody had a glass of wine with dinner, then drove home from a restaurant. These are people breaking the open container law. Have I ever done it? No. I’m not much of a drinker to begin with, and I’ve never had a desire to be ticketed for an open container. I guess I’m in the 40 percent who haven’t.
Half of all drivers admit to using their rear-view mirror to put on makeup and/or work on their hair while driving. I don’t use makeup. I do comb my hair, but I don’t do it in the car.
One-third of men have shaved while driving. It doesn’t say, but I assume this means using an electric shaver. It occurs to me that using a safety razor would be somewhat messy, and using a straight razor could even be fatal if you encounter a speed bump or pothole. I start work every morning at five o’clock, frequently with a five o’clock shadow.
One-third of mothers have changed a baby’s diaper while driving. This would require special skills I do not possess. It doesn’t seem right to me that mothers would drive recklessly with a baby in the car, but stranger things have been known to happen, I suppose. And there are probably mothers somewhere who can change a baby while jogging or riding a bike. Mothers can do a lot of amazing stuff.
One in four drivers say they clip their fingernails while driving. I wouldn’t do this because I nearly slice off a piece of finger skin if I clip my fingernails while sitting in a chair at home. But this has me wondering if anyone has ever clipped their toenails while driving. I hope not.
And lastly, one in ten drivers admit to doing a crossword puzzle while driving. I can actually imagine this, because I’ve been in Los Angeles traffic during rush hour, which is ironically named. Some days you sit perfectly still for long periods of time, even on the freeway. It could be tempting to glance at the paper, but I never kept a pencil in my vehicle.
So what have I done in the car other than drive? I’ve eaten a cheeseburger and fries. I’ve had a coke. I’ve carried on a conversation. I’ve listened to the radio. I’ve listened to cassettes and CD’s. But as far as I can remember, I never did anything that made me forget I was driving.
Oh…for about five years I did drive while constantly squinting. But I don’t do that anymore.