Warning: Shocking Video Reminds That Distracted Driving is Dangerous

Editor’s Note: This article contains videos whose content may be considered too graphic in nature for some readers. Viewer discretion is advised.

A video was recently released from the New York State Department of Transportation; and it shows the shocking video of a motorist who crashes a vehicle into the rear end of a Highway Emergency Local Patrol — or HELP — truck on the Taconic State Parkway.

Warning: Shocking Video Reminds That Distracted Driving is Dangerous

Without further ado, here is the video, in which the driver is presumed to be distracted.

You would think that the reasons are obvious as to why you should not text while driving any vehicle; but people do it anyway in all different types of situations — whether crawling along in traffic during rush hour, thinking that the flow of vehicles are moving slow enough that no harm can be done in using a portable electronic device; or zooming out on the open road where there seems to be no other motorists or signs of life for endless miles.

The truth is that any distraction to a driver is a potential recipe for disaster. I witness it multiple times every day: the woman who snails along at half the posted speed limit; the teenager who drifts across a pavement marking such as a double yellow line; or the man who constantly applies his brake for no reason every few seconds — all dividing their attentions between the increasingly ubiquitous portable electronic device and navigating a potential weapon which weighs at least a ton.

Taking risks needlessly is simply senseless. Think about it: is there anything which is really that important which cannot wait for your input or involvement?

This article — written by Mark Palmer of travelblawg — featuring an educational campaign by AT&T which focuses on distracted driving hits home with a powerfully impactful video. It introduces us to six perfectly average characters on a perfectly average day in a perfectly average town — think the 1967 song Pleasant Valley Sunday as performed by The Monkees — whose lives are irrevocably and permanently altered by the devastating consequences of a seemingly innocent glance at a portable electronic device while driving.

Here is that video:

While that particular video is indeed compelling, I am reminded of what I still believe is the most impactful video I have ever seen — which first appeared ten years ago from the United Kingdom — pertaining to the portrayal of three teenaged girls who tragically fall victim to distracted driving; but I must again warn you that the following video is quite graphic and not recommended for you to view if you are squeamish or prone to nightmares:

The videos may actual be too good, as they could fuel cynics into accusing them of being overdramatic; but the message is still quite clear — and the possibility of the fictional occurrences actually happening in real life are quite real.

This video report from ABC News shows actual footage of truck drivers texting while driving — including a real collision which resulted in a fatility, recorded on video:

This video imparts some very sobering statistics:

“Visit the It Can Wait website to join me and over 7,000,000 others who pledged to keep their eyes on the road, not their phone”, Mark Palmer wrote in the aforementioned article.

My Own Experience — Which Was Fortunately Benign

I actually made my pledge years ago before there was any public awareness pertaining to the use of portable electronic devices while driving — and that was based on my own personal experience.

I was in Birmingham in Alabama on a business trip with a cellular telephone I borrowed from a girlfriend of mine at the time, as I did not own my own telephone. I had just completed my visit to a client and was driving down a moderately busy road when I decided to place a quick call to her and let her know that I was done with the client.

The telephone call was indeed quick, and there was no incident of which to speak; but I do recall how difficult it was for me to concentrate on driving while tapping the telephone number and speaking on the telephone itself — and it was then that I not only realized how potentially dangerous what I did was; but I also vowed to myself at that point to never do it again…

…and to this day, I have kept my promise.


Readers of The Gate know that I rarely use words such as shocking; but in this case, I believe that it is appropriate…

…and even still, I have seen videos which are far more graphic posted on the Internet which have the ones included in this article pale in comparison — believe it or not. Simply use a search term such as Russia car crash videos — if you dare view them.

I have driving multiple times on the Taconic State Parkway; and it is not exactly the safest highway on which to drive. It is quite narrow in numerous areas. The highway — which is four lanes wide — is a limited access highway; but it does have occasional at-grade intersections along its route which can be quite dangerous. I know, because I remember the mother of a past friend was killed in an automobile accident on the Taconic State Parkway years ago when his sister decided to turn — not realizing until it was too late that the turn caused the car to suddenly be in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

While I wholeheartedly agree with Mark that you should “save your calls, posts, texts, tweets, surfing, etc. for when you safely arrive” at your destination, I would add — and highly recommend — that if you cannot wait until you arrive at your destination, then at least pull over and park in a safe area to complete your business until you are ready to continue your drive…

…and whether you rent a car or drive your own vehicle, if you think that you are impervious to a similar scenario possibly happening to you: just remember that it only takes a few critical seconds — and an irreversible situation — to find out whether or not you were correct…

…or wrong.

Please do not be one of the approximately 70 percent of people who engage with portable electronic devices while driving, as those motorists foolishly and unnecessarily put themselves and others at risk. Whatever business or activity you may believe that you need to conduct with your portable electronic device at that moment…

…well — it can wait…

Videos and screen shots are the property of their respective owners; and are used in this article with their intended purpose in mind: as a public service announcement.

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