Jump to content

Menu

What do you do if you see a driver texting?


Recommended Posts

Yesterday I was with my kids on the freeway and a car in front of us was going slower than the rest of traffic, and not really staying in it’s lane. My son said, “I bet that guy is texting” and sure enough, when we passed him, his head was looking down, only his left hand was on the steering wheel, and he was doing that glance up, look down thing. 

I wanted to honk at him, but also didn’t want to scare him and have him swerve into me. I see this a lot when I’m on the freeway and wish people would just stop. What, if anything, do you do in a situation like this? Do you honk? Call the non-emergency highway patrol number? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I try to steer clear. If I felt I should call the police, I'd call 911, but it could be that in some areas they prefer you to call a non-emergency number in that situation. I'd probably only do that if I were the passenger or had a phone capable passenger who could take the licence plate number.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually just mumble, "idiot," under my breath. I only honk if there's an immediate danger or the light has been green for 10 seconds or so. I think honking at a texter could cause more problems if they aren't about to hit someone. I wouldn't bother calling the cops. I figure by the time anyone comes they'd have quit texting and how are they going to find them? 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

And honestly, I don't know if they are texting or struggling with a GPS, or navigation whatever it is on the phone. Also dangerous, but maybe not illegal, and should only last a minute so by the time cops found them they'd be done. 

Plus, trying to look up a number and call the police would be WAY too distracting for me to do while I'm driving, and so really there is nothing TO do. Which sucks. I can't imagine looking down at my phone on the freeway. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you know he is texting?  I have been known to look at my GPS while driving.  Because you can't know for sure he was doing something unacceptable, I don't think you should do anything about it.  Just keep advocating "don't drive distracted" as more people catch on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the other thing is that my peeking in his car to see if he's texting, and then calling the po if I think he is, is also me driving distracted.  Best to just watch the road and keep my family safe.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I see it every day on the highway.   Be wary of those drivers.  Not much else you can do.

FWIW I dont' think "fumbling with my GPS" is at all safer than texting, though I've done it.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I do honk if the car is coming too close to my vehicle, in an attempt to get their attention back to driving. Then I stay away from them. Whatever the reason may be that their driving skill doesn't seem normal, I figure the best defense is distance and keep my focus on driving. It's not going to help anyone if I become a distracted driver trying to figure out another distracted driver.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I mostly avoid and swear.  It is definitely illegal in my state to be messing with a device for any reason.  So don't do it!  Set up your mapping ahead of time if you need it or pull over.  My car was totalled last year from behind at full speed with a car full of young adults and I do suspect texting was involved.  I wish there was an easy way to report a license plate and have them at least get a warning letter.  

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it matters at all if one is texting or using a GPS if they aren't maintaining their lane. If they can't maintain a lane, they need to get off the road to do their business, period. I called the non-emergency number once going into the mountains because someone was not maintaining their lane (including running into a median). I hope they got to him before he started up, because he was definitely going to hit either a guardrail or a mountain in a few miles if he kept that up. When I managed to pass him, I could clearly see he was typing on his phone. It doesn't matter to me what he was doing, he was running off the road and could have taken someone else with him if he wasn't stopped.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Reporting reckless driving is a different issue.  It is most likely because the person is drunk or on drugs (though that does not mean he isn't also texting).

Then again, I know people who have trouble maintaining their lane while perfectly sober and both hands on the wheel.  Could be the cause of some of my white hairs.  :P

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whether or not your using GPS or texting it is just as dangerous and texting is as dangerous as drunk driving, it is illegal for a reason. There are always crappy drivers but texting and driving increases those odds greatly, it is not a safe activity. Just because some people have wrecks while sober and not distracted doesn't make it perfectly fine to do activities that we know increase the risk of wrecks many times over.

Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

I mostly avoid and swear.  It is definitely illegal in my state to be messing with a device for any reason.  So don't do it!  Set up your mapping ahead of time if you need it or pull over.  My car was totalled last year from behind at full speed with a car full of young adults and I do suspect texting was involved.  I wish there was an easy way to report a license plate and have them at least get a warning letter.  

 

Sounds like harrassment just waiting to happen.  Ex- calls the police with the ex's license plate number, to report "Texting while driving" and a letter be sent out without the police even seeing it for themselves.  How do you defend yourself from that when your car is parked in public for anyone to pick the license plate up?  It could become the new ditch and run trick -- with even less way to get caught.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do see a lot of blaming bad driving on "texting" when people don't really know if texting was involved. On a local Facebook page about highway conditions, people are constantly talking about seeing drivers on "Facebook" and I always wonder how they are able to ascertain not only device use, but the precise app in use, while traveling at highway speeds :-)

I was thinking recently about the good old days of navigating a strange city's highways using an actual paper map with tiny printed streets...and all the inconvenient folds! It's so much safer now to get around with the GPS, even with its limitations.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am completely baffled by all the posters who say that it's OK if it's only the nav app that distracts him, and that it "will only take a minute". Seriously?

If the person is so distracted that his erratic driving is noticeable by outsiders, they are dangerous. And in "only a minute" a car travels over a mile on a  freeway.

 

  • Like 12
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, SKL said:

How do you know he is texting?  I have been known to look at my GPS while driving.  Because you can't know for sure he was doing something unacceptable, I don't think you should do anything about it.  Just keep advocating "don't drive distracted" as more people catch on.

 

In some states, it doesn't matter. In VT, drivers may not touch their phones while driving. At all. No phone calls, no GPS, no texting. You can take calls through bluetooth, but that's about it. 

OP, I don't usually do anything. Grumble under my breath usually. Phone use has gone way down here since the new laws kicked in a few years back, but you still see it on occasion.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I steer clear.   If I were to call the cops - the guy would be long gone before they could get there, even assuming they came fast.   and witnessing someone texting isn't going to get them ticketed unless a cop sees it, it's kind of pointless.

yes - I've been witness to at least one.  on a busy two lane road that did at least have a planted median dividing turn lanes.  he went up into the bushes and drove over them before looking up and coming back onto the street.  I'm sure he continued to text and drive.

though I think of the texas bus crash - the guy following the dually driver did call the state patrol to try and stop him, but they didn't get there in time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

He was definitely doing something on his phone because my son in the passenger seat saw him holding his phone in his right hand. And of course I wouldn’t make the call myself, but my 17 yo DS in the car with me would certainly be able to. 

But regardless if the guy was texting, checking his GPS, or something else, his head was down and not watching the road for much longer than was safe. I was happy to pass him and get ahead of him. I wanted to honk at him, but didn’t want to cause an accident. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hate on GPS checkers all you want, but no way are people going to pull over on the freeway (is that even legal?) every time they need to check what their next turn is.

There have always been minor "distractions" with driving.  It's never been realistic to have your eyes continuously 100% on the road in front of you.  Driving is multi-tasking.  Checking the rear-view mirror, peripheral vision, both sides of the road to see what other people and animals are doing.  Noticing all the gauges and warning lights and sounds.  Changing the music, dancing and singing to your favorite songs.  Asking your kids about their day, mediating backseat fights, adjusting the temperature and your seat position, scratching itches, drinking coffee, worrying about work, and yes, even eating.  If someone decides they need to stop singing or talking to their kids for a second while they check their GPS, more power to them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally don't assume they are texting. In my state, it's legal to use your phone while driving (illegal to text). You really can't tell the difference if someone may be flipping through their phone to find the contacts, unless it goes on for an extended period of time. One particularly egregious time on the interstate, I snapped a picture of the girl's plate and posted it on FB. And yep, I took that picture while I was driving. Admittedly it was pretty dumb of me; it was my own form of road rage.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a lot of traffic lights around us so what I see often are people checking their phones at a red light.... then being honked at because they are distracted and missed the green and then driving forward with the phone still in hand. Not talking on speaking, looking at phone. 

I frequently see people looking at phones while driving.  Not occasionally, frequently. 

I dont do anything about other drivers except stay away.  On faster moving roads I can tell when someone is distracted...drifting and slower.  I stay far away!!!

I am guilty of looking at my phone at a red light en route to work.  Because our traffic lights are sequenced and timed I know exactly how long I have, if I need to check something. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I drive below speed limit on the freeway almost all the time.  It's better for gas mileage and for stress.  If people think I'm doing something stupid that's making me drive slow, that's really their problem.

I don't think I cross lanes unintentionally.  But I guess if I did, I wouldn't know it, would I?

Link to post
Share on other sites

And although the OP is about freeway driving, since someone brought up checking texts at red lights - I believe it is perfectly fine to do anything on your phone or anything else while your foot is firmly planted on your brake.  I may use that time to switch audiobook CDs, text, check email, check facebook, whatever - some of our lights are ridiculously long.  Nobody is in danger.  I can't imagine why this practice would bug anyone.

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, PinkTulip said:

He was definitely doing something on his phone because my son in the passenger seat saw him holding his phone in his right hand. And of course I wouldn’t make the call myself, but my 17 yo DS in the car with me would certainly be able to. 

But regardless if the guy was texting, checking his GPS, or something else, his head was down and not watching the road for much longer than was safe. I was happy to pass him and get ahead of him. I wanted to honk at him, but didn’t want to cause an accident. 

 

Ah, you said originally that your son only saw that only his left hand was on the wheel and he was looking down and up. Did not realize he had actually seen the phone.

It sounds like you handled the situation well :-)

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, SKL said:

And although the OP is about freeway driving, since someone brought up checking texts at red lights - I believe it is perfectly fine to do anything on your phone or anything else while your foot is firmly planted on your brake.  I may use that time to switch audiobook CDs, text, check email, check facebook, whatever - some of our lights are ridiculously long.  Nobody is in danger.  I can't imagine why this practice would bug anyone.

 

Your beliefs won't stop you from getting ticketed in some states.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, SKL said:

Hate on GPS checkers all you want, but no way are people going to pull over on the freeway (is that even legal?) every time they need to check what their next turn is.

There have always been minor "distractions" with driving.  It's never been realistic to have your eyes continuously 100% on the road in front of you.  Driving is multi-tasking.  Checking the rear-view mirror, peripheral vision, both sides of the road to see what other people and animals are doing.  Noticing all the gauges and warning lights and sounds.  Changing the music, dancing and singing to your favorite songs.  Asking your kids about their day, mediating backseat fights, adjusting the temperature and your seat position, scratching itches, drinking coffee, worrying about work, and yes, even eating.  If someone decides they need to stop singing or talking to their kids for a second while they check their GPS, more power to them.

 

I don't buy it, obviously we do many things while driving, but changing a radio station and writing a text are not remotely equal levels of danger to self or others.


If you are having to hold it and look at it for every turn you're not GPSing correctly!
Set a gps and then put it on a stand or holder, and /or use the "voice" feature so you get audible directions.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, SKL said:

And although the OP is about freeway driving, since someone brought up checking texts at red lights - I believe it is perfectly fine to do anything on your phone or anything else while your foot is firmly planted on your brake.  I may use that time to switch audiobook CDs, text, check email, check facebook, whatever - some of our lights are ridiculously long.  Nobody is in danger.  I can't imagine why this practice would bug anyone.

 

That's the basis for a ticket in my state. Although we are not "hands free," while operating a vehicle, it is illegal to "manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or read any email or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device." The law goes on to specifically exclude looking for names/numbers, caller ID info, and GPS use. (But it looks like Facebook and other internet use is permitted?)

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I see drivers fiddling around with their phones all the time and get as much distance as possible between them and me. I don't honk or otherwise engage other drivers. There have been way too many road rage stories in the news here lately and I don't feel like being on the receiving end of some psycho's wrath. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, poppy said:

 

I don't buy it, obviously we do many things while driving, but changing a radio station and writing a text are not remotely equal levels of danger to self or others.


If you are having to hold it and look at it for every turn you're not GPSing correctly!
Set a gps and then put it on a stand or holder, and /or use the "voice" feature so you get audible directions.

I wasn't talking about writing a text in the post you quoted.  I was talking about looking at the screen to see what GPS is telling me to do.

The voice isn't enough sometimes.  Sometimes it turns off or it says a street name that you didn't catch- either because it's mispronounced or something else was going on or you just forgot.

I do think it's comparable to changing a radio station.  In that case you are looking at the numbers on your display while pushing buttons and listening and making a decision.  Vs. just glancing to see the few symbols that tell you how far and which direction and what street name.  I only recently started using GPS, and I can say it's a lot safer to use it than not.  And it's safer to know what's coming up than not.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we should simply educate people better before they are allowed a liscence. All ages should retest (at least on the computer which would be cheapest to implement) once a decade. Most people don't even understand basic rules like staying in your own lane through a busy intersection. When they put round abouts in up here you would have thought the state was killing children, puppies, and kittens.

Instead of nitpicky rules, we need to quit saying things that are negligent driving are accidents. They are negligent driving. If you murder someone you go to jail if it's negligent driving. It's not negligent to hit a person in dark clothes running across the freeway at night on ice but hitting a pedestrian because you stopped on the wrong side of the crosswalk, killing a cyclist because you couldn't wait 30 seconds and had to pass on a 90 degree turn, texting or looking at GPS while going 80 mph. Yep, those all sound negligent. Jail time, lose you car, and your licence. You shouldn't get away with going around killing people. Those are all decisions not accidents.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A GPS should be mounted somewhere on the dashboard within your line of sight so that you can simply glance at it without taking your eyes off the road, but not where it is blocking your view of the road very much. They should not turn off or need to be fiddled with on the highway. I sometimes use my phone as a GPS if I am sitting in the passenger seat and there is no way I would do that while driving. I don't understand how using a GPS on your phone and looking down at it could be okay. 

If I see someone driving distractedly, I try to get far away from them. I have seen people using laptops during bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

On the highway, you can call the highway patrol most places. Some stretches of highway even have a special number that's posted. I mean, if you were with a teen or another adult in the car, they could look up the number. On side streets, I assume that there's no way they'd find the guy. Even on the highway, it's a stretch. The only time we've ever called in reckless driving on the highway, it was a large tractor trailer that cut us off twice, swerved through two lanes... it was so scary. I was driving and I thought we were going to die - he had me penned next to the median and there was nowhere to go as he just increased his speed dramatically and swerved into my lane. Then he slowed way down again, we thought we'd lost him and then he was back again, still swerving. We called the highway patrol, then we called the "how am I driving" number on the truck. The company, btw, was not very receptive to hearing about it. Good to know you just stuck the sticker on there for no reason, irresponsible company.

We're hands free here. You get used to it. I do pick mine up when I'm driving, but mostly to hand it to the kids and ask them to do something. Hey, kid, text friend we're running late. That sort of thing. I have a place I set it when I'm using the GPS. To those concerned about the law being a basis for harassment by police, I think you're being a bit silly. Any driving law that's open to interpretation could be used as a basis for harassment, but we don't question every single law. I mean, I do know someone who got a ticket for it who was not touching his phone at the time, but I've also known people who were like, I don't know why I got that ticket, I absolutely stopped at that stop sign. Usually cops are okay, but sometimes... this happens and it's cruddy and we should come up with ways to make it not happen. But I still think it should be illegal to run through stop signs and to mess about on your devices when we know that they're that much more dangerous than other distractions.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, SKL said:

I wasn't talking about writing a text in the post you quoted.  I was talking about looking at the screen to see what GPS is telling me to do.

The voice isn't enough sometimes.  Sometimes it turns off or it says a street name that you didn't catch- either because it's mispronounced or something else was going on or you just forgot.

I do think it's comparable to changing a radio station.  In that case you are looking at the numbers on your display while pushing buttons and listening and making a decision.  Vs. just glancing to see the few symbols that tell you how far and which direction and what street name.  I only recently started using GPS, and I can say it's a lot safer to use it than not.  And it's safer to know what's coming up than not.

 

Of course it's OK to look, but aim for 'hands free'.... it's unwise to keep it in your hand and drive with one hand while using it.  I sometimes drive one handed , but I do keep that other hand free.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I try to give distracted drivers a lot of room.  I have ocassionally honked (just a couple little taps) at a driver that was obviously looking at their phone and making a mess of traffic.  It's helped sometimes, but other times the driver still didn't put the phone down! 

I drive a lot and I see people looking at their phones on the freeway pretty much daily.  I've also been rear ended on the freeway by someone that was on their phone.  Grrrr.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I don't think it'll cause a major accident, I honk. 

Then again, I live in Ontario and it's zero tolerance here for ANY distracted driving. It used to be focused on 'texting', but has recently been changed to anything that is distracting the driver. So...GPS, opening a coffee, phone for any reason, all are treated the same way. My Mom's GPS unit (she has the one that you can suction cup to your windshield so it kind of sits on your dash) slipped and she grabbed it and was trying to get it to just sit on the dash til she could pull over to reattach it. She got pulled over and was given a (hefty) ticket for distracted driving. I feel like it might have been in the $500+ range, and she lost demerit points on her license. 

I have an uncle who is an officer for the Ontario Provincial Police, and we were chatting about this. I said "texting while driving" was a stupid charge - my kids are far more distracting to me when I'm driving than any device ever would be. He said you could technically get pulled over if a cop saw you hollering at your kids or passing them something or digging in a diaper bag for something or whatever. If it's taking your attention off the road, you can get ticketed. 

We've had police officers go on the city transit bus, and they'll watch drivers at red lights for phone use. If they see it, they have another officer in a car ready to pull them over. 

I've been literally run off the road (with a 4 month old in the backseat at the time) by a distracted driver. I have zero patience for people who can't drive responsibly. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I see someone swerving (not knowing or guessing as to why) for more than a minute or two I often call 911. Usually I am the passenger and DH asks me to call.  I say, "I don't know if the driver is drunk or distracted or just tired, but he's driving very erratically - can't stay in one lane, speeds up and slows down by more than 30mph, and I think you should send a deputy to check on him." I always give a detailed car description and the license plate, as well as which direction we are headed and what mile marker we are at. Usually there's a deputy nearby anyway it it's no trouble for them.

I think I've done that maybe 4 times.  I know in one instance the person I thought was texting was actually drunk, and in another was diabetic and had low blood sugar. In a few other times I wasn't near home and didn't know anyone in the department so I have no idea what happened.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...