Ancient wisdom says "The mind is like the wind, it never stays still." This holds true even when we drive. In a desperate attempt to keep our minds occupied, we reach for our phones.
The results are pernicious. According to the National Safety Council, over 17,000 people died on US roads in the first six months of 2016 alone. This marks the highest increase in 50 years -- a sharp uptick attributed largely to driver distraction. The dangers of driver distraction are real.
I’m 30 minutes in to my daily train commute and have scrolled mindlessly through my newsfeed, landing on an oddly engrossing news article about a vegan dieting trend springing up in New York. I’m not even vegan, just bored. The train stops and I look up to check if it’s my stop. As I free my eyes, I notice someone stepping out — an old college friend I haven’t seen in years. “Joe!” I yell across the aisle, “How have you been?” He gives me a smile and waves from the platform as the doors close behind him. How had I not noticed him until now? That certainly would have made for a more interesting train ride…
It’s 6:00 am. My alarm goes off, and while I wish I had time to watch the news, catch up on email, and check what my friends are up to on Facebook, I desperately need to get a workout in and drive to work in time to prep for my 8am meeting. I go for a run and hop in my car. I’m not a fan of texting and driving, but while crawling at 10 mph in traffic I innocently peek down at my phone to skim my unread email subject lines. In the time I glance down and look back up I need to slam on my brakes– traffic had come to a stop in the 2 seconds I looked away. Close call.