Two things I really enjoy:

  1. Coffee
  2. Tea

Enjoying them together at THE SAME TIME? Revolting madness!

Two more things I enjoy:

  1. Sleeping
  2. Smoking

Enjoying them together at THE SAME TIME? Dangerous madness! Though my mother was adept at this…

And another two:

  1. Driving
  2. Being utterly spangled on Rioja

I think you know where I’m going with this…

Many of life’s great pleasures should not be enjoyed AT THE SAME TIME. And many of life’s great pleasures should not be enjoyed whilst driving.

When driving it is permissible to munch on small snacks. Baguettes are ill-advised. A full roast dinner would be a mistake. But a wee bag of Twirl bites or a bag of crisps will offer a hit of sensory pleasure without detracting from the task in hand which is to DRIVE YOUR CAR WITHOUT KILLING ANYONE.

I have capitalised that statement for impact because it seems we motorists are a smidge forgetful that the purpose of getting behind the wheel is to DRIVE YOUR CAR WITHOUT KILLING ANYONE.

When driving it is also permissible to listen to music. Many’s the time I have warbled loudly at the wheel, allowing the full strength of that day’s suppressed emotion to be unleashed. This unholy practice is not illegal (though many’s the passenger of mine who may wish it so) because warbling does not interfere with my ability to DRIVE MY CAR WITHOUT KILLING ANYONE.

Not permitted is to drive your car whilst off your nuts on drink or drugs. Also not permitted is driving your car at incredible speed. This is challenging because driving very fast is very fun. But driving very fast into a pedestrian is very un-fun. If we want to drive very fast we must become racing drivers. Or I suppose if the need is strong, we could find an empty car park and go a bit mental. But in all other cases, we must not speed because we must DRIVE OUR CARS WITHOUT KILLING ANYONE.

And so to the mobile phone. Oh how I love my phone. I take him everywhere (yes, I have given him a masculine identity because he has a flashy, blokey appearance and also because I am more wedded to him than to my actual fella). I sleep with him, eat with him, bathe with him, work with him and sit on the loo with him. He makes my friendships stronger and my work easier. He helps me buy stuff and sell stuff. He entertains me and distracts me when I’m anxious. He tells me where to go and how to get there. And he takes a fantastic photo.

He is my true soul-mate.

But he is not a good car passenger. He is too distracting and demanding. Even if he’s in my bag, he’ll beep away at me so as to remind me of all the wondrous connections I am missing out on whilst driving. The only way to avoid his distractions is to put him on silent, a parenting device used to great effect by my parents on long car journeys when I was a child and one which I deploy frequently with my own spawn. When the punching and squealing are too much, they are placed ON SILENCE. They may not speak until instructed to do so.

People, it is time to treat your phone in the same cold, cruel, punishing way you treat your children.

As of today, March 1st 2017, if you are caught using your phone whilst driving, the fine has been doubled from £100 to £200. The points have also been doubled from 3 to 6.

If you’re a new driver, caught using your phone within two years of passing your test, you face losing your licence and having to re-take your test.

Blimey. Why?

Because you’re more likely to crash while using your phone than you are to crash while being off your nuts on beer.

I KNOW.

And the thing is, if you get behind the wheel drunk and you KILL MY CHILDREN at least you could say your judgement was skewed by being off your nuts on beer. But if you get behind the wheel and KILL MY CHILDREN because you were texting your friend to say: nah mate cba c u in 5 innit; you will have no defence except that you are a gigantic TURD of a human being.

NB: this is not meant as a justification for driving whilst off your nuts on beer.

The AA Charitable Trust have teamed up with the ‘Think’ campaign to create a short awareness film. You can watch it here. It doesn’t end how you think it will and is EXCELLENT. 

As one who is wedded to her phone and her car, but also to staying alive, and is tempted to look at her phone even when it’s in her bag, on silent, my message to you today is simple:

NEVER use your phone in the car.

Not for sat-nav. Not for music. Put on a CD! Listen to the radio! And put your phone ON SILENT and SHUT IT IN THE GODDAM BOOT.

Sadly, it is not yet acceptable to shut your children in the boot, but I feel that awareness campaign should be imminent…

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