Bad drivers are worse when distracted

Published 10:12 am Thursday, June 27, 2019

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Psst — I will let everyone in on a little secret that only a few people know: I have a terrible affliction, but fortunately I have it under control.

Yep, that is right. I have a terrible disease (Just ask my wife, she will tell you). It is called “bad-driver-itis,” but don’t for one second think it is a rare condition.

I’ve come to terms with all the symptoms.

Email newsletter signup

I know I have a lead foot that makes me drive too fast. I admit my stereo plays too loud. I realize I use the phone more than I should and have just a touch of “road rage.” I concede I often signal too late and turn too fast.

And, of course, anyone who has seen me circle the block a half dozen times can tell you that parallel parking is a skill I don’t possess. If I don’t get it right on the first shot, it is all over and around the block I go to look for a spot I can tackle head on.

See, I am aware of these deficiencies that have been pointed out to me far too often. (Again, many thanks go to my wife and countless other unwitting passengers.)

I am seeking counseling. (Well, not really, but it sounds good to say.)

The big problem is that so many others out there have the same symptoms but won’t admit it or work to correct it. As the old cliché goes, “’Da Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

To make matters worse, many of these afflicted motorists well, make matters worse, by inflaming the symptoms.

See, since I understand my own problems, I have become more attuned to spotting the problems with others.

How many times have you seen someone driving down the road, cell phone in hand, and carrying on a conversation so intense you would think they were delivering a presidential address?

If you are a bad driver from the start, how much worse does it get when you hold your slobbering poodle or crying baby on your lap and allow he or she to “help steer?”

My money says your bad driving just got worse.

Nobody likes that morning commute that often has us scrambling out the door partially dressed and grasping for coffee. But that doesn’t give women the license to apply layer after layer of makeup.

I have seen it go on — for miles!

And I am for a relaxing read as much as the next person, but plowing through bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic is not the time to brush up on your Shakespeare.

Even worse, I have heard of people who have “eyes in the back of their head” and others who are ambidextrous, but I saw a man steer with his feet while climbing into the backseat to fish out a CD or some other vital necessity.

I hope all those people with “bad-driver-itis” learn to get help and to help themselves by not adding more distractions.

Whether you live life in the fast lane, the express lane or the Sunday driving lane, it is important to remember that your driving habits could be as fatal as any real disease.

I am working to overcome my illness and hope others do the same.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Interior Journal. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at