Drinking and Driving vs. Drunk Driving

July 23, 2008

Okay, I’m going to go on a bit of a semantics adventure here. We all hear about people who rail (rightly) against drinking and driving and how terrible it is, right? Well, when they are talking about drinking in that context, they almost certainly mean alcohol and nothing else. I believe that drinking ANYTHING and driving at the same time has the potential to be very dangerous to the driver, and to others on the road. People may respond to this saying “Oh I’ve been sipping on coffee en route to work for x years now, and I haven’t had a problem yet.” Well folks, that’s wonderful and I’m happy for you, but the key word is “yet.” All it takes is one split second nightmarish CRASH to end that lucky streak. AND IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THE FAULT of the person drinking something behind the wheel. Some maniac could be flying down the road, recklessly, and a person drinking hot coffee might spill a drop on him or herself, divert attention, and BAM.

Drunk driving is a different problem altogether, and I don’t have to blather on about how stupid it is and why. We all know that already. I hate unnecessary lectures, so I won’t subject my readers to them.

I thought of this post while I was on my way back from the gym, and trying to sip from my water bottle in front of a red light. The light turned before I could take a sip, so I threw the bottle in the passenger seat and put my right hand back on the wheel pronto.

Hot drinks are especially problematic because of the potential to burn if spilled. Who WOULDN’T divert his or her attention momentarily from driving after being burned unexpectedly? I sure as hell would! I don’t ever want to be in that situation, so I’ll try hard to never sip a hot beverage while driving (or anything except water for that matter). I can’t even drink something hot or brightly colored (because of stain potential) in a moving car, because of my poor coordination. That’s another story, but it’s another reason for me to stay away from drinking stuff while driving. It’s a distraction. There are plenty of things on the road to stay away from, and sipping a tasty latte behind the wheel is something we don’t HAVE to do (well, maybe some people DO have to gulp down coffee on the way to work. That really sucks though, so maybe if you are one of those people, offer up the idea to your boss that driving while drinking coffee is not a good idea and you want to make the road a safer place to drive for yourself and everyone else.



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