Monday, October 03, 2005


Driving While iPod-ing

According to an article in from the
New England Journal of Medicine, talking on a phone while driving quadruples the risk of an accident and was almost as dangerous as being drunk behind the wheel. I surfed around a little and found several gazillion websites, from DMVs to insurance companies that back that up: You increase your chances of having an accident 400% while talking on the phone and driving.

Baby, I'm calling it: Cellular phone distractions are NOTHING compared to those of tuning your iPod to your car radio while driving.

They should just start legislating iTrip laws this very minute.

I recently purchased a new iPod and the accompanying iTrip attachment that allows you to play your favorite music through your car stereo. I took off from my driveway, plugging that puppy in while I drove. I tuned my radio to the proper station, turned on the iPod on, hit "menu", scrolled the wheel around to find my music du trip, right-arrowed over, hit the play button...

...and then realized I was 1/2 mile down the road, and was either still alive thru the powers of superhuman peripheral vision or the grace of God.

I've talked to other friends who have admitted the same thing: scrolling their iPod wheels and looking up to find the car in front of them closer than they had realized.

If we can't practive mindfulness awareness anywhere else, we should at least commit ourselves to it behind the wheel. I'm guilty of talking on the cell phone while I drive, all the while knowing the statistics, but thinking that I'm more alert than those "other" drivers. I also know damned well that it's not true, when I lose track of whose turn it is at a 4-way stop.

I annoy even myself, and I get off the phone, and I try to stay off it.

And I have definitely, 100%, forbidden myself from ever tuning the iPod/iTrip while I'm operating a vehicle.


  1. Anonymous10:11 PM

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  2. I have read a magazine while I was driving and ended up half-way home before I ealized I was doing it, read read, look up, read read, look up.

  3. The only thing I read while I'm driving is an atlas or a printout from mapquest...Usually while I'm doing 80 mph on some 12-lane highway in Chicago, and counting out change for the next tollbooth at the same time.

    I'm reminded, though, that I was such a bookworm when I was a little kid, that I would walk all the way home (5 miles, uphill each way, of course) with my nose in a book.

  4. does the iTrip actually work? I bought the belkin ripoff and took it straight back to Target in less than 24 hours.

    Therefore I do not DWi. But I'd like to.

  5. I've text message friends whilst driving....and in Malaysia it's punishable by a hefty fine. Lucky so far. I've only ever had a really bad accident. ( this while paying full attention on the road ) Amazing.

  6. SS: I love my iTrip; I bought it through considerably cheaper than BestBuy, etc. It's static-y occasionally, if the weather is bad...but I believe I break down and read the owner's manual, there are other stations I could tune into to remedy that.

    Edina: It's amazing that we sometimes make it home, isn't it! On long highway trips, I clean the car while I drive, reaching behind me to pull tissues and wrappers out of the pockets, and organizing everything I can reach, while still keeping one hand on the wheel. Tsk, tsk.

  7. Yeah! Be careful ! Can you image the cost of your insurance if they found out you crached a car because you couldn't find the right playlist.

  8. Good for you!!

    I'm a horrible driver. Just this morning I put my makeup on while driving, mmmmm, probably 80 miles/hour. (I was on country roads, but that's still no excuse.)

    I know better...

  9. Ruben: Right! Those would be huge consequences, just because I was trading Ray for BB! How embarrassing! I wonder what I'd do, what I'd say? "A deer ran in front of me! That's my story and I'm sticking to it." Always good to have an alibi.

    Momo: Well, in your defense, mascara'd eyelashes are better for batting at county sheriffs that pull you over for going 80 mph.


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