Nothing angers like an endangered child

A week or so ago, I wrote about a driver who nearly got herself and her baby killed.

She was talking on a cell phone and attempting to drive at the same time.

Because of this, she nearly got broadside to an eighteen-wheeler on I-5.

That piece touched a very raw nerve. Brought in a bit more than 100 e-mails — most from mothers.

I guess there’s just something about putting a baby in danger that lights a fire in moms everywhere. For sure, it reinforced my belief that you never want to mess with them over the issue of protecting kids.

I was already aware of this, though, because when my wife (mother of three) read the piece, she told me — in no uncertain terms — what she thought of drivers talking on cell phones.

I’d like to tell you that the woman in question read the piece and wrote to say that, in the future, she’ll pull over whenever she uses her phone, but that didn’t happen.

So I guess she’s still out there driving with a phone surgically attached to her ear. Thus, it’s likely her guardian angel will be busy for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, guardian angels can only do so much. That means the rest of us will have to stay on our toes.

Some of you said you got goose bumps when you read about the baby in the car.

You’re not alone. I’m here to tell you that the image of that sleeping infant and what was about to happen when she cut me off still sends chills down my spine.

I know it’s useless, but I’m going to say something here.

My gut tells me that most cell phone users truly believe they’re in complete control of their cars while they’re merrily gabbing away.

Sorry, folks. You’re not.

What you are is a menace — an accident looking for a place to happen.

I wish I had the space to relate all of the incidents described in the e-mails I received.

Anger flowed freely. Disbelief at the utter stupidity readers had witnessed was a close second. Third place went to descriptions of "the detritus (as one reader so aptly put it) left behind" by cell phone users who think they can talk and drive at the same time.

I used to do a bit of flying.

It’s true that, while flying, you often have to talk at the same time. However, there’s a big difference.

Up there, you can trim a plane for "hands-off" flight and it’ll pretty much keep going where it was last pointed. Try that in a car.

Still, because flying involves violating the laws of gravity by the application of brute force, pilots tend to place control of the plane as a first priority. Talking on the radio is further down the list. This prioritization tends to keep things like mountains and other aircraft out of the front windscreen as they proceed to their destination.

Too, while flying, there are a bunch of eyes on the ground following you on radar. If you start drifting into another plane’s airspace, someone’s going to call and tell you to get your head up and on swivels before you become part of an aluminum shower.

This doesn’t happen on the road.

Get your attention fixed on a cell phone conversation and things can get away from you.

Part of it is because the person you’re talking to isn’t watching you on radar and cannot act as a "ground traffic controller." Thus, neither of you is aware of that big, blue, Dodge Ram coming up on your rear fender or of the eighteen-wheeler two lanes over. Eventually, as your mind (and your car) wanders, something bad will happen.

So, to all who took the time to write, thank you.

Unfortunately, I don’t think anything’s likely to change.

You see, there hasn’t been enough carnage yet. Thus, for the foreseeable future, we’ll have to put up with "the detritus" left behind by the folks holding all of those "extremely important" cell phone discussions.

Of course, were one of our elected Grand Pooh-Bahs to have — God forbid — one of their own maimed or killed by some driver prattling away on a cell phone then, gentle reader, I guarantee things would change in a heartbeat.

Just now, however, I think guardian angels will remain busy.

As for the rest of us, white knuckles and muttered oaths will remain part of our daily commute.

Larry Simoneaux is a freelance writer living in Edmonds. Comments can be sent to: larrysim@att.net.

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