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Better Late Than Never: The Tragic Story of A Distracted Driver In Anywhere, USA

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I awake to brilliant sunshine and look out the window. Aahhh…what a beautiful day. I take a shower, dress, and look at my watch. I’m late! I grab my electric shaver and mobile phone, then I hop down the stairs. I stop at the fridge on my way to the back door and grab a yogurt. At the pantry, I grab a bottle of water, a spoon and a breakfast bar. I balance all of these things in both hands as I exit the back door, leading to my garage; I almost trip and fall in my haste to get into the car.

I’m only traveling 8 miles to my office for an early meeting; who needs a seatbelt? I pull out of the garage and push the electronic garage door button. The door won’t go down. Damn, I’m late! Did I mention that? Forget the door! Maybe the kids will get it (I doubt it). I put the car in reverse and zoom down the driveway. A jogger is passing the driveway with headphones on; I notice him at the last minute, almost hit him, but swerve and avoid him, at the last instant. Our eyes meet; he is terrified, but fine. That was close.

I drive through my subdivision’s main street at about 40 MPH (the speed limit is 25) and I reach the stop sign at the main road in the front of our sub. I "touch stop" and cut off a car that is traveling down the road in the same direction that I am intending to go. He lays on the horn; I give him the finger and speed up to lessen the inconvenience of cutting him off. All of the stuff on my front seat spills onto the floor. I lean over to retrieve my shaver, phone and breakfast items and when I look up again, I am in the lane for opposite travel; a truck is bearing down on me, honking his horn. I yank hard on the steering wheel and pull back into my lane; whew! that was close.

I travel along the main road toward my office. The meeting is in five minutes and I haven’t eaten or shaved. I grab my phone, look down to dial and dial my office. No one answers, of all days, does everyone have to be late today? I look down again and text my secretary. When I look up, traffic is stopped in front of me. I slam on my brakes and avoid striking the car in front of me by less than an inch. The driver is looking at me in his rear view mirror. I can see the angry look on his face. I meekly wave an apology and he, of course, flips me the bird. What goes around, comes around, I guess.

Traffic proceeds again, and I begin to move. The freeway entrance is just ahead. As I approach the entrance, with no one in front of me entering the freeway, I speed up so that, as I leave the curved ramp, I can merge into traffic at freeway speed. My tires squeal as I attempt this maneuver and my shaver, phone and breakfast, again, end up on the passenger side floor. I lean over and retrieve all of my stuff, while holding the steering wheel with one hand; I can see, but just over the dashboard. Thankfully, no one is in front of me at the moment. I am really hungry. I grab the water, yogurt, spoon and energy bar and place the items next to me on the counsel. I take the yogurt, look down and pull on the foil cover; it rips and sprays yogurt on my shirt. I look down at my shirt and there are fresh yogurt spots dotting it. As I am looking down, my car sways into the next lane; the car next to me honks the horn as I "right the ship". I grab the water, open the top and spill a little onto my hand. I proceed to rub the spots with water, alternately looking down at my shirt and up at the traffic ahead. That job done, I take a swig of water, grab the yogurt and a spoon and start eating my yogurt, steering the car with my knees. The car sways back and forth as I eat the yogurt. I grab the breakfast bar, look down to unwrap it and, again, the car sways back and forth in my lane. I down the breakfast bar in three bites, then take another swig of water; I grab my shaver….

I turn the rear view mirror at my face; damn I’m good looking! Alternatively, looking at myself in the rear view, then back at traffic in my front windshield, I begin to shave. I’m just two miles from the office; my clients will not be happy that I am late. I accelerate a bit and continue to shave. The phone rings. I continue to shave, place my knee against the bottom of the steering wheel and look over at the passenger seat for my phone. One mile from the office. I grab the phone and look up at the windshield; traffic in front of me is at a complete standstill and I am going 75 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. There is no way to stop in time; I swerve to the right and slam on the brakes. The car veers right and I lose control of it; I am completely out of control and helpless. The car flips over and slams into the stilled rush hour traffic in front of me. The last thing I remember is: Damn! I’ll never make it to my meeting! I will never make it to any meeting, anywhere, ever again.

Lawsuit Financial Corporation helps provide legal finance and lawsuit funding cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation fundingis needed by personal injury victims involved in pending litigation. The company CEO and Blog Author, Mark M. Bello, is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

1 Comment

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  1. Chris says:
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    Mark,
    What an “intense” and very realistic blog. Daily, drivers like this are on the road. Maybe not to this “extreme” (we know there are some), but I see similar behavior all the time. I recall my husband telling me about the days he would travel back and forth to college eating McDonalds. He would drive with one hand, put the drink between his legs, and the fries on the dash of all places. Sometimes he would use both hands to eat and drive with his knees, just like you mentioned. My first thought was how did he ever graduate between the McDonalds (sorry all you Mickey D lovers) and his inattentive driving. He was one of the lucky ones; so were all the other drivers sharing the roads with him 20 something years ago. I continuously wonder what it will take for people to get the message. I can’t believe the answer is jail or death.

    I will admit that I have driven with distractions, the worst being talking on the phone. When my son recently took drivers ed, I was quickly reminded how dangerous I have been and what a bad example I was setting. Now, if I must make a call, I pull over. If a call comes it, I don’t answer it until I reach my destination. No call is more important than my life.