Please Stop Doing This Right Now

I had just turned off the freeway and on to the four lane road that leads to my neighborhood. It was a little before 5:00 PM, and there is always a good bit of traffic at this intersection. As soon as I turned, I stopped my car behind the line of cars built up behind the traffic light.

Because I was looking ahead at the traffic, I didn’t see the car in my rearview mirror. I didn’t hear the tires squeal because the driver didn’t hit the brakes. Instead, he plowed straight into the back of my car. He probably hit me at 25 or 30 miles an hour. I had my foot solidly on the brake, and my car still lurched forward enough that I was afraid I was going to hit the car in front of me.

When I looked in my rearview mirror, the driver had his phone in his hand. I believe he had been sending a text message.

The driver is 70 years old, and he drives for a company professionally. He begged me not to call the police, pleading with me that the police report would cost him his job. I believed him. The driver’s nephew owns a chain of body shops, and he promised me that he would take care of all the car repairs. His nephew immediately drove to the parking lot where we moved our cars.

I am uninjured. The driver of the car that hit me is also uninjured, even if he is a little shaken up. My airbag wasn’t deployed, but the safety mechanism in my headrests were activated (and I have no idea how to reset them). My car is damaged, and a number of parts are going to need to be replaced. I have no idea if there is any structural damage to the frame.

But it could have been much, much worse.

If you are driving, please don’t send text messages. There is no message so important that you can’t wait until you stop to send it.

In life, it is good to be reminded of things like this before you are reminded in another, more serious, more permanent way. You’ve just been reminded.

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