Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thoughts for the New Year

What in the heck is this, you ask?  I took this picture last week. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a really bright light in our kitchen.  Tip toeing out there to see what it was, I discovered that it was the full moon shining through our new sky light.  We got a new roof this past fall and had to have the skylight replaced along with it (long story).  It still needs some framing and painting from the inside, but I REALLY like it!  It's right in the middle of my kitchen- soooooo cool!

So there I was- in the middle of the night- trying to get a picture of the full moon shining through the skylight in the kitchen.  (It doesn't take much to amuse me)  To say the least, this picture doesn't do it justice.  You'll just have to use your imagination.

When I returned to bed, I thought about the skylight, and about perception, and how different people view things.  That leads me to some thoughts for the new year.

As the calendar clicked to 2010, new laws took effect in many states.  I live in Oregon, and it seems that we have more than our fair share off new laws.  The most talked about is the law that prohibits texting and the use of hand held cell phones while driving a car.  Just for the record- I'm all for these laws.  But I do think it's sad that we need to legislate common sense.

For those of you who have read this blog for a while, you might remember that I was involved in a car accident in November.  The cause of the 5-vehicle accident was a woman who fell asleep at the wheel and veered into the oncoming (my) lane on a 55 mph highway.  It would be an understatement to say that I have thought a LOT about "distracted driving" in the past few months.

I do think it's good to legislate that people should not be sending text messages while driving.  But there's a much bigger concept here.  You can't legislate common sense.  We all make mistakes.  We all make errors in judgment.  We all do things we shouldn't.  OK.  But I don't think our society impresses upon us strongly enough that we are responsible for our actions.  While I was in the ambulance on my way to the hospital, I overheard someone say, "That's what insurance is for".  Yes- but insurance doesn't fix everything.  And just because something is covered by insurance doesn't mean that it was OK to make the mistake in the first place.

What ever happened to common sense?  The law that you shouldn't text or use a cell phone while driving is a good one.  But the REAL issue is that a driver should have both hands on the wheel and be looking where the car is going.  Why does this have to be a law? It's already a law that you shouldn't drive drunk.  Do we need to make it a law that you shouldn't eat, or put on makeup, or fiddle with the radio, or tend to the baby in the back seat, or take a short nap while you're driving?  How about legislating safety?  Why does it have to be a law that we should wear a seat belt?  Why would a thinking person NOT wear a life saving belt?  (By the way- I had a nasty seat belt bruise- a reminder that the seat belt did it's job and kept me in my seat!)

The woman who fell asleep and caused the accident I was in didn't mean any harm.  I'm really not angry at her. She exercised poor judgment and feels remorseful.  But I honestly have to wonder if I would be so compassionate had I been more seriously injured or if someone I loved had lost their life or if insurance hadn't covered my losses.  While we can't legislate common sense, neither can we legislate compassion.  It's food for thought as we enter a new year and make resolutions to change habits.  Many people make new years resolutions to lose weight or take a class or otherwise better themselves.  Go for it!  But my thoughts as this new year begins are leaning toward thinking about the impact we have on the world around us.  How do our actions affect others?  Isn't it selfish to think that laws don't apply to us?  (Just one quick phone call..... I'm not distracted.... I can handle it.....).  Does it really matter if we're "caught" or if we get a ticket?  Isn't it really about responsibility for our actions?

By the way- I'm OK.  I still have a few aches and pains, but all in all I was very fortunate.

My specific resolutions?  I'm buying a blue tooth (ear piece for my phone), and I'm not going to eat while driving. Oh--- and I'm going to try harder to be on time and not always run 5 minutes late.  It's not safe to drive when you're in a hurry.  Wish me luck!

That's it for my soapbox.  Here's to a safe, healthy, happy new year, filled with good experiences, new friends, compassion and common sense.  Two hands on the wheel and both eyes open and on the road.

Thanks to loyal readers of this blog and welcome to the new ones!  I'm honored that you have chosen to read what I have posted.

Happy New Year!


Barb said...

I agree with you!!!! Too many laws....and is just another way for the government to get money out of us who use poor common sense every once in a stay on your soap box!!

Needled Mom said...

Even with all of the laws we have (in CA)we still have the lack of common sense and intentional breaking of the laws. Just today as we were out driving we passed so many driving while on the phone and texting while driving. We even passed a tourist bus with the driver texting. CRAZY!!!!

Glad you are okay.

Patty said...

Okay I'll admit it I was one those people whho didn't use seat belts... never thought about untilll... I was in a car wreck and broke my neck! i'm fine now but it took a long time to heal. My son was not quite three and it was rough.needless to say I always wear a seat belt and have made my nsone swear to always wear one no matter who he is with. Im hope he keeps his promise.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm odd, but I have a phone for MY convenience. When the phone rings and I'm busy (cooking, sewing, driving, whatever), I let it go to voice mail. Yep, if it is important enough, the person calling will leave a msg. I can always call back when it is more convenient for me. As for calling others while driving, remember to set up the voice activated dialing system on your cell phone. OR just pull over and make that call from the side of the road--no distracted driving possible that way. (Seems to be a soapbox day!)

Maria said...

I was really surprised to read your post about just passing laws about the mobile(cell)phones. In Australia it has been law for a long time as is the wearing of seat belts.To me it is just normal to do so.
It is interesting to read about different countries and their laws.

Sue said...

Thanks for all your comments. Seems like lots of people have strong opinions about this.

Be safe, everyone!

Melinda said...

I agree with you about common sense - it seems like it is less common all the time. Your comment on being on time is a good one. If you are late, you are distracted and that is not good. I feel much better when I am early, not running late.

free indeed said...

Sue, so sorry to hear of your accident. Maine already has laws out for mandatory seatbelts and distracted cell phones, eating etc. Another hazard is sleep apnea....I have that and fell asleep at the wheel once and scared myself..I am now being treated. I heard somewhere that if a person has apnea and doesn't have it treated, it could be manslaughter charges if they kill someone while falling asleep at the wheel!