Stop Texting and Driving

Aside from the speed, the wind coming across your body, and the maneuverability of riding a motorcycle, there are two other pretty great things about riding a one: the inability to text while riding and the ability to see everyone who is texting while they are driving.

Most of the time, in a car, you are limited in your view; your car has to stay generally in one place in a lane, and you’re stuck inside the metal frame. With a motorcycle, I can maneuver within a lane and have much better vantage points of the road. I am continually amazed at how many people I see texting and staring at their phones while they are driving.

And I’m not talking about the quick look at Google Maps for directions or the swipe to answer the phone. I’m talking about the head bob…you know what I mean…the up and down movement of the head switching back and forth from the road to the phone, with one hand on the wheel, and the other hand’s thumb vigorously typing away for whatever unimportant message the person is sending.

One of the things I’ll do, in my attempt to be a good Samaritan, is honk the horn on my motorcycle, get the person’s attention, and, using my left hand, give the “put the phone down” motion. You know what it is: the outstretched pinky and thumb fingers, with the index, middle, and ring fingers curled under, as the hand goes from my helmet down toward the ground. In California, they’d call it the “Hang Ten,” but here, I call it the “Get Off Your Damn Phone and Drive Your Car More Carefully Because You’re Going to Kill Someone (Probably Me)” sign.

I recently did this motion to a driver as we were about to transition from VA-267 to I-66 East during rush hour. I saw the head bob, saw that I had adequate room between me and the car in front. I honked my horn a few times. The driver looked at me, phone in hand, and gave me a puzzled look.

I gave him the “Get Off Your Damn Phone and Drive Your Car More Carefully Because You’re Going to Kill Someone (Probably Me)” sign, to which he responded by looking caught off guard and putting his phone down.

Another time, when I’ve done this at traffic lights and recognized that the person has not paid attention to the fact that the light has changed to green, I got a more hostile response, with the driver motioning for me to go while I motion for the driver to put down her phone.

Please help us all stay safe on the roads and stop texting while you drive your 3000-pound vehicle at 60 miles per hour. You might have a seatbelt, but I don’t, so please remember that.

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