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Old October 1 2009, 07:50 PM   #1
Jan
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What constitutes distracted driving to you?

What constitutes distracted driving to you? Assume normal traffic going at or near the speed limit with no congestion in sight.

For me, anything that takes my eyes off the road or my hand(s) off the wheel for longer than it would take, say to push a button on the dashboard qualifies. Also anything that's likely to cause my attention to wander such as a DVD or game player in my field of vision, even peripherally.

Which for me means that I can talk to other people as long as they're in the car or I'm using a hands-free device and that's about it. I don't look for things in my purse or glove compartment, don't read, don't text, don't do anything that might take my attention off the road.

I will eat the fries out of my fast-food meal but that's about the worst. No sandwiches or anything that might obstruct my vision.

What about you?

Jan

ETA: Looks like there's action on a federal level to legislate what should be common sense: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/...nce/index.html

Last edited by Jan; October 1 2009 at 08:01 PM.
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Old October 1 2009, 08:00 PM   #2
Spot's Meow
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

I'm the same as you. The most I do is push buttons the radio really. I just don't feel comfortable looking away from the road.

My mom and sister are awful about this though. My mom will take both hands off the wheel and drive with her knees, which I couldn't do even if I wanted to because I am much more petite. They will eat whatever they want, they fumble around for CDs and candy, and my sister is always texting when she drives. That is soooo wrong to me. So freakin dangerous, I hate being in a car with her and avoid it.
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Old October 1 2009, 08:03 PM   #3
Shaw
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

I think there should be a law against eating fries in the car.

My wife eats the fries from the bag on her way home from McDonld's and the like... and then there are NO MORE FRIES!

Would you like some fries with your meal? YES! But if my wife runs out to get the food, they aren't going to make it home.



... and yeah, the other stuff too.

(My wife just left to run errands... and pick up food. There won't be any fries when she gets home... I know it! )
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Old October 1 2009, 11:26 PM   #4
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

Anything that takes your attention off the road.

Now, there's levels and degrees of distracted driving, I wouldn't say someone talking with another passenger is as distracted as someone someone talking on the phone (even a hands-free device) as phone conversations are different than in-car ones.

Someone drinking a soda from a straw isn't as distracted as someone drinking from a coffee cup (as it requires one to block/remove their vision fromt he road to tip the cup back.)

There's degrees and differences and levels of distracted driving. Hell, it can even depend on the car you have. I'm less distracted changing the radio station or the climate controls of my car than someone who has a BMW with one of those iDrive/touch screen displays to change radio stations and climate controls in the car.

The thing is how long and how much you are distracted. Which is why someone who's talking on the phone boils my blood more than someone taking a drink of soda or eating a hamburger.
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Old October 1 2009, 11:33 PM   #5
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

There's no way that talking on a hands free device is more distracting than eating a hamburger.
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Old October 1 2009, 11:40 PM   #6
Lookingglassman
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

Anything that keeps you from paying attention to the road.
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Old October 1 2009, 11:53 PM   #7
Trekker4747
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

There's no way that talking on a hands free device is more distracting than eating a hamburger.
I'd argue that there's a way, if maybe a small one. Taking on the phone being a distraction isn't about the holding a phone part it's about the conversation. You get more "into" the conversation when on a phone as it requires you to be more verbal (as using hand gestures to augment your conversation isn't possible) and the person on the other end can't gauge their end of the converation based on the road conditions and traffic.

When talking to friends on the car it's easy to just trail out of the conversation if the road conditions necessitate more attention. Talking on the phone, even hands-free, this isn't as possible.

Talking on the phone distracts you for a prolonged time. Eating a hamburger, you take a bit then you sit it back down on the passenger seat. It distracts you for a moment.
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Old October 2 2009, 01:22 AM   #8
TheGodBen
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

The Notorious T'Baio wrote: View Post
There's no way that talking on a hands free device is more distracting than eating a hamburger.
Ever talk on the phone for an extended period and when you come off you realise you're been walking around without thinking about it, possibly into another room, and you don't know where you've left your cup? It happens to me sometimes, and I know it happens to many others as well. I can barely even have a conversation with somebody in the passenger seat while I'm driving, it always takes me longer to think what to say next because I'm focusing on the road.

Once, when I was still new to driving, I tried to roll down a window (it was a cheap car so no electric windows) while driving on a dual-carriageway to let a bluebottle out, and when I looked back to the road I was halfway into the other lane. Thank Jebus I wasn't on a normal road with oncoming traffic.

The other day I stopped to get petrol, and when I got back into the car I must have sat oddly because the combination of loose underwear and tight trousers really started to chafe. It was very distracting but I didn't want anyone to see me pulling in to mess around with my trousers, so I waited until I found a place to pull in out in the middle of nowhere. It made for a very uncomfortable 15 minutes.
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Old October 2 2009, 01:26 AM   #9
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
I'd argue that there's a way, if maybe a small one. Taking on the phone being a distraction isn't about the holding a phone part it's about the conversation. You get more "into" the conversation when on a phone as it requires you to be more verbal (as using hand gestures to augment your conversation isn't possible) and the person on the other end can't gauge their end of the converation based on the road conditions and traffic.
Okay, so talking on a hands free phone is a no-no but taking your hands off the wheel to gesticulate wildly when someone else is in the car is fine? I don't think so.
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Old October 2 2009, 02:35 AM   #10
T'Baio
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
When talking to friends on the car it's easy to just trail out of the conversation if the road conditions necessitate more attention. Talking on the phone, even hands-free, this isn't as possible.
See, so what we're talking about here isn't that having a conversation on the phone is generally more distracting, we're talking about idiots.

When I'm driving and talking on the phone, I trail off all the time when the road conditions demand more attention. People say "...hello? HELLO?" but I don't care, because I know what's more important. Often I'll say "hang on a sec" and put the phone down as I'm doing a turn, or something. My attention is always more on the road than on the phone.

All this talk of a phone conversation automatically putting you into a trance you can't break out of and sucking you into a non-observational void is really talking about fucking idiots.

And as per usual, smart people suffer to make rules to control the morons.
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Old October 2 2009, 02:50 AM   #11
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

I drive while talking on my phone. I am no more distracted than I am when I drive without talking on the phone.
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Old October 2 2009, 02:53 AM   #12
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

Jan wrote: View Post
What constitutes distracted driving to you? Assume normal traffic going at or near the speed limit with no congestion in sight.

For me, anything that takes my eyes off the road or my hand(s) off the wheel for longer than it would take, say to push a button on the dashboard qualifies. Also anything that's likely to cause my attention to wander such as a DVD or game player in my field of vision, even peripherally.

Which for me means that I can talk to other people as long as they're in the car or I'm using a hands-free device and that's about it. I don't look for things in my purse or glove compartment, don't read, don't text, don't do anything that might take my attention off the road.

I will eat the fries out of my fast-food meal but that's about the worst. No sandwiches or anything that might obstruct my vision.

What about you?

Jan

ETA: Looks like there's action on a federal level to legislate what should be common sense: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/...nce/index.html
Oh, I've been watching too much Star Trek. I thought your initial sentence said "Assume normal traffic going at or near the speed of light...".

J.
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Old October 2 2009, 03:01 AM   #13
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

Someone who is texting or dialing the phone while moving is definitely a problem to me. As are doing people doing their hair, putting their makeup on, and shaving (all of which I have seen at one time or another).

Basically, I define it as anything that will result in your eyes leaving the road for more than the amount of time it takes to change the settings on the ac or the radio.

Within reason (as in whenever there's not any real traffic around), I have been known to look at my directions or GPS, check the address, use the speed dial or last number recall on my phone, or eat something handheld for breakfast while I drive. I'm also known to steer with my knees for a few moments on long trips when my hands start to fall asleep.
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Old October 2 2009, 02:51 PM   #14
Nerdius Maximus
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

I'd say it varies from person to person. Some people are already such poor drivers that they shouldn't even blink.
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Old October 2 2009, 03:19 PM   #15
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Re: What constitutes distracted driving to you?

As I've mentioned (okay, "ranted about") in other threads on this topic, distracted driving is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I really want to see legislation in an effort to try to control it. I understand the argument that is frequently raised that there are already laws on the books that could be used to control this problem, but they aren't being used that way and I don't see that changing (especially here in Eastern Massachusetts, where dangerous driving seems to be seen as a God given right.)

Be that as it may, I think we have to acknowledge that we're simply never going to get a law that will do away with all distractions from driving -- nor, perhaps should we -- but we can certainly look at the more dangerous ones. I agree that eating and drinking while driving can be very dangerous, but I'm more concerned with things that require a longer and/or sustained attention to something other than driving and/or require a drivers eyes to be off the road, such as dialing a phone, texting, typing on a computer, shaving, putting on makeup, reading (newspaper, book, spreadsheet, etc.), all of which I see on my daily commute and often all in a single trip. And combinations of any of the above are the worst. I used to see this one particular woman frequently who would be flying along in the fast lane, cradling her cell phone between her ear and shoulder, smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee and usually doing her makeup all at the same time. I can only assume she was driving with her knees.

Alpha Romeo wrote: View Post
I drive while talking on my phone. I am no more distracted than I am when I drive without talking on the phone.
Not to dispute that this may be true for you, but I have to confess that while talking (hands-free) on the phone while driving I probably am a tad more distracted than driving while not talking at all, I don't believe that (for me) it's any more distracting than talking to a passenger who's in the car with me, or listening to certain talk radio programs that I'm addicted to. But, as I said above, I think there are degrees of "distractedness", if you will, and I just really feel we need to get a handle on and reign in some of the most egregious distracting activities.
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Last edited by TrekkieMonster; October 2 2009 at 06:15 PM.
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