ellen_marguliesBy Ellen Margulies

When I first considered blogging about this particular topic, I have to admit to feeling the tiniest bit smug.

I mean, really, it’s not as if I were some bubble-headed teenager driving and texting — I can barely text on dry land. But I had a thought-provoking drive after work recently.

As I exit my office parking garage, the driver in front of me sits there as one, two, three chances to turn right come and go. I tap my horn with the heel of my hand, not in a “move your expletive car, you expletive expletive” kind of way but in a “hey, look up from your cell phone because I have to be somewhere” kind of way. “This is the perfect example,” I think. “Distracted driving is everywhere.”

Five minutes later, I have maneuvered my way through the first leg of rush-hour madness and am negotiating my next two right turns. I plug in my cell phone, change the volume setting in case my hairdresser calls and then decide to call her after all. Why wait? I make a wobbly right turn after missing a perfect opportunity to go, much to the chagrin of the five or six drivers behind me, I’m sure — all of whom were too polite to honk, I might add. I drive on, suitably ashamed. I hop on and then off the interstate. I forget I’m not supposed to be a distracted driver and pick up my cell phone to call my hairdresser. Using voice commands, of course.


I miss my lane in one of the worst bottlenecks on my route. I have to force my way into a packed line of cars. One driver, phone nowhere in sight, is gracious enough to let me in. I am still on the phone with my hairdresser, but I can’t quite remember what I want to say to her — do I need to take the next right or shoot across that intersection and go for the turn one block up? I all but hang up on my hairdresser.

Luckily, she is also a longtime friend who won’t be offended at my rudeness. Do I have time to plug in my GPS to see which way is fastest? I imagine  trying to type in the address as I drive. Never mind. I throw the phone down on the seat and drive to my destination. I park the car, and I think about all those missed turns and last-minute navigation decisions.

I NEVER text and drive.

But distracted driving? Let’s just say I’m not feeling so smug anymore.