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Posts Tagged ‘distracted driving’

I’m sure that all of us have seen other drivers do crazy things behind the wheel.  Maybe it’s some really aggressive/dangerous move, or sometimes it’s just that the person isn’t paying attention.  While I can’t relate to the amateur stunt drivers, I can definitely identify with the distracted ones.  I truly wish that I could say that I’ve never fallen to that, but that would be sadly untrue.  It doesn’t happen a lot, but it’s happened enough for me to know this about myself.  God knows that I would never want to hurt anyone, and I’m not sure how I’d live with myself if I did.  But yesterday, I came incredibly close to finding out.

 

I was driving home on a four-lane, divided highway, with a 60 mph speed limit.  There is a Wal-Mart on the edge of one of the towns that I drive through, and it has a stop light in front of it.  I was still hundreds of yards from that intersection when I noticed that there was something all over my lane in the road.  I kicked off my cruise control and strained to see what it was.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that there were several dump trucks off the left side of the road, and I realized that they had tracked a thick coating of mud onto one lane of the intersection.  Not wanting to roll into that, I checked over my right shoulder to change lanes.  It was clear, and I moved into the right lane.  Though the car had coasted down in speed, I was still moving faster than I should have been, and when I refocused on what was in front of me, I saw that the light was red, and that I was about to miss it badly.  I tried to lock up the wheels, but my anti-lock brakes, and the rain soaked road weren’t going to let that happen.  All I managed to do was to put the car into a slide and lose complete control of where I was going to stop.  As I careened into the intersection sideways, I saw that I was about to broadside a car that was stopped at the intersection, and I could see the horrified look on that drivers face.  I kept trying to steer away from the collision, but my tires skid effortlessly across the wet pavement.  All I could do was cry out to God, and brace for the inevitable impact.

 

I don’t feel that it is an exaggeration to claim that what happened next was nothing short of miraculous.  Mere feet from this horrible crash, my front tires suddenly grabbed hold, and the car violently shuddered to the right.  Somehow the front end of the car made an almost 90 degree turn, without the back end fish tailing at all.  To my utter amazement I was able to pull off onto the side of the road, where I shook with the understanding of how close I’d come to either seriously injuring, or maybe even killing someone.  It was a sick feeling, and it left my wondering whether I ought to consider giving up my driver’s license.  Eventually, I gathered myself enough to head home, and I found myself praying that God would forgive me for being so distracted.

 

Last night, as I had time to ponder all of this, I couldn’t help thinking that it was God’s hand that had saved that other driver from my foolishness, and that saved me from living with the guilt of knowing that I had seriously hurt or killed someone.  I was struck by how quickly life can change, and the thought of how different my life would be had those tires not suddenly grabbed hold.  I hear people indict God for the prayers that they feel went unanswered, but I think that we take for granted all of the things that never happened to us, as though that was our doing.  Yesterday, I had a “Jesus Take the Wheel” moment, and I’m convinced He did.  Maybe I should just leave the driving to him.

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With the extensive and rapid developments in today’s technology, our world is being transformed right before our eyes.  But the benefits of these changes have also been accompanied by some unforeseen consequences.  One example of this would be the use of cellphones while driving.  Originally thought to be just a question of texting and driving, now experts speak of the broader issue of “distracted driving.”  As a father of four, I can testify that it is not only drivers that are distracted, and that it’s not just kids who suffer from this affliction.  Truth be told, we’ve become a society of multi-taskers, which we like to rationalize as a good thing, though I have serious doubts.  It has become truly rare to see people give their full attention to just about anything, and I would like to suggest that this is ultimately to our detriment.

 

If we are not intentional, we will fall into the trap of satisfying ourselves with the quantity of items checked off our to-do list, even though we’re not doing any of them particularly well.  I have found that the things I love require some of my “undivided” attention.  Though I ascribe to the notion that we ought to pray without ceasing, I recognize that my ongoing conversation with God does not constitute my undivided attention.  I’ve found that there are times when I must divorce myself from every other thing, and simply be with Him.  Though my wife and I try to do life together as much as possible, there are times when she needs me to lay everything else aside so that she can be the object of my full attention.  Even though my kids are getting older (ages 14yrs to 21yrs), they still need for me to reserve a space that is uniquely theirs.  And when I’m the one who’s got the grandkids, I can’t allow myself to get distracted by anything else.

 

As I watch our culture change, I am concerned that we are losing our ability to give anything our full attention, and that we’re raising a generation that is largely devoid of that capacity.  If I am right about that, the results could be catastrophic, especially to our relationships.

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