Are you distracted?

I was travelling towards the city in the midst of fast moving traffic (for a change) but the car in front was acting erratically. The first thing I noticed was the fact that the driver kept weaving within the lane and was one moment too close to the car in front and then a few moments later, had slowed down as was now too far away.

In a matter of 5 minutes of following I saw at least 10 actions which were dangerous and three that required other drivers nearby to take evasive action. I thought that the driver must have been drunk or having a seizure or something similar and so I carefully positioned myself in the traffic so that I would be able to come alongside. What I found was a woman of about 45 years old holding her mobile phone in one hand whilst texting with the other and controlling the steering wheel with a combination of her elbow and knee.

Her level of distraction was such that she did not respond to my waves or when I sounded my horn. She continued to give only perhaps 10% of her attention to the task at hand and was oblivious to the fact that dozens of people in the traffic were now avoiding her dangerous behaviour.

I don’t need to remind any of you of the reason that using your mobile whilst driving is illegal. Studies show that the distraction that happens even from receiving a single text is equivalent to being over the limit from drinking. All I hope is that this particular driver is pulled over in the not to distant future before she has a serious accident.

Distraction can have dangerous consequences; if I am distracted I can become a neglectful husband and a distant father. I can lose my focus at work and people can suffer. Safety can be overlooked and the important and imperative can be left undone, unsaid and unresolved.

I problem we all face is that there is so much to be distracted by – so many stimuli to process and too many inputs to manage – distraction is a current infection and challenge we all must deal with.

In the bible Martha was distracted with many activities, she was cooking, playing host and trying to be organised but her sister Mary was just sitting at Jesus’ feet. Martha grew angry and asked Jesus to tell Mary to help… but Jesus replied “Mary has chosen the right way, I won’t take it from her”.

How is your level of ‘distraction’ today?

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