Smartphones and Driving Don't Mix!

I got into a car accident today.  Not a major one, a fender bender, but it shook me up pretty badly.  I was on a major freeway on my way to school and the traffic was stop and go, so I was fiddling with my iphone as usual.  I wasn't texting, but that wouldn't be abnormal for me in stop and go traffic, but I was taking my eyes off the road for what I thought was a nanosecond at a time and then looking right up again.  When I looked up the last time, even though I couldn't have been going more than five miles an hour, I didn't have time to stop when I slammed on the breaks and hit the car in front of me.

I was freaking out.  We were already stopped in traffic of course (which is why I hit her, she was stopped in traffic and I couldn't stop in time), and I got out, ran over to her to see if she was okay.  I know it was a fender bender, but we were both shaking.  She was very nice, surprisingly.  I know I've heard a thousand times not to say you're sorry, not to admit it's your mistake, blah blah.  But really, it WAS my fault, why shouldn't I have told her I was sorry?  I did.  And I was.  Very, very sorry.  I gave her all my info, and I couldn't even think to get the information I needed from her except her name and her insurance company which is the same as mine, so stupidly I thought, "Well I have her name, they'll know who she is!"  She was so nice at the end - she said about three months ago she got into an accident that was totally her fault, and she didn't go on to say that it was my fault, but I knew she was saying that it was okay and she knew that I felt horrible - it must have been after I said I was sorry for the fifth time.

So everything worked out okay.  I wasn't late for school, but I cried on the way there.  I called the insurance company and they were way nice about it even when I said it was my fault and was very honest about how it happened.  She said that was the most common accident they get and the most common reason.  When the insurance agent called tonight, she said because we have been such loyal customers (10 years?), it won't count against us on our insurance even though it was my fault, but the lady hadn't reported it yet!  What?  We have the same insurance, and it's almost 12 hours later!  Why would she not have reported it when it was my fault?

So, moral of the story learned the hard way.  Yes, I see all the signs and watch the commercials that say "Don't text and drive.  You'll die a horrible and tragic death and kill children in school buses."  But, I thought that I wasn't texting whole sentences at once, and only in stop and go traffic during rush hour, or just looking at my phone for a bit at a time.  But that's all it takes - just what you *think* is a SECOND looking down at your phone.  I realize now that what I thought was just a fraction of a second was actually much longer.  It was probably several seconds by how fast that car came at me when we were going so slow.  I saw a commercial that said a texter has their eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds at a time.  I thought "whatever, that's an incredible amount of time.  That's just careless."  I don't think people realize now how quickly five seconds go by when you're looking at your phone.  To count down five seconds right now - one-one thousand, two-one thousand, yes, that seems like awhile.  But to be in your car looking down at your phone, trying to read something or do something quickly, that time goes by in a FLASH.

I can see how people die if they are going the speed limit on a highway now and texting.  Wow, that could happen so easily - I'm glad that it was just a fender bender.  Learned the hard way, but learned nevertheless, and no one got hurt but my BMW. 

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