I hate driving. I hate the traffic, the confusing design of highways in my city and the long periods of claustrophobic sitting with nothing to do but listen to the radio. To top if off, I am a nervous, slow driver, fearful of other cars and distracted drivers. (Yes, I'm the one you've probably honked at, annoyed.)
But I live in a sprawling Southwestern city with limited public transportation and intense heat that makes long-distance walking or biking tough for much of the year. So driving, alas, is a fact of life for me.
My fears, though, have only been further confirmed by a harrowing series in the New York Times called 'Driven to Distraction' about the dangers of using cellphones and of texting while driving. One article cited a new study, by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which found that when truck drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.
Another article cited research that drivers using phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers─and that driving while talking on a cell is akin to being legally drunk. Hands-free devices, meanwhile, don't eliminate these risks, according to studies. In fact, they may worsen them by giving drivers a false sense of security.
Because I'm such a wimpy driver, I try not to talk or answer my phone on the road unless it's urgent or traffic is at a standstill. But for many Jugglers, especially those with long commutes and important business to take care of, talking or texting while driving is common, and perhaps necessary. I am amazed by how many interviews I've conducted for articles with subjects talking to me while driving; I can sometimes hear the sound of horns and the hushed strains of NPR in the background.
Readers, do you regularly drive and talk on a cell or text? Given the risks of doing so, have you tried to reduce usage while driving? And more generally, how much is driving a part of your juggle and how do you feel about it?
《纽约时报》(New York Times)刊登了一个悲惨的系列报导，名为“开车怎能不分心”，内容是关于开车时打手机或发短信的危险。这个报导进一步强化了我的担忧情绪。其中一篇文章援引了弗吉尼亚科技运输学院(Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)的一项新研究，研究发现，卡车司机边发短信边开车时，撞车的风险比不发短信的司机高出23倍。