Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

A Public Service Announcement

public-service-announcementLast week I paid a visit to my friend, Karen. She picked me up at home and we drove north via the 401 and 400.  The posted speed limit is 100 kph. Most drivers travel at least 20 kph over that. However, we managed to find ourselves behind a driver who was travelling below 100.

“He’s probably texting,” said Karen.


“Yeah. My brother-in-law is a police officer. He said that if you encounter a driver who is traveling significantly slower than the speed limit, they are likely texting. They think that they are driving the limit, but their focus is on the keypad and not the highway.”



When Reiner and I travel, we avoid the 400 series, if it’s possible. We’d rather take an extra two hours to arrive at our destination if it means avoiding the stress of the super-highways. Because if there is a traffic jam, and the chances are about 50-50, it will take an extra two hours anyway.

Reiner picked me up on Tuesday from Karen’s. We had to take the 400 through Orillia and Barrie before we could pick up our alternate highway home. We managed to get behind a slow poke, driving 90 kph.

“He’s probably texting,” I said, and I told Reiner about Karen’s theory.

“Maybe he’s trying to save on gas,” he said.

“OK. New theory. If you encounter a driver going below the speed limit, they are likely texting. Or it’s Reiner.”

That’s the fun-at-Reiner’s-expense part. Here’s the PSA part.

Please read Wyrd Smythe’s post Jack & Bob.

 According to the CDC, every day, more than nine people are killed due to distracted drivers. Every day, more than 1000 are injured. In these days of cell phones, texting and drive-through eateries, the potential for distracted driving is greater than ever. And driving is such a common activity that it’s easy to forget we’re piloting a weapon of notable destruction.

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31 replies

  1. Hear hear, Maggie; I have been saying this kind of thing for quite some time. I find it terrifying to see a driver driving along with a mobile phone clamped to one ear: how on earth can anyone concentrate that way? It is beyond me, quite frankly. xxx


  2. I wonder how slow a driver who wants to save on gas goes while they are texting. 🙂


  3. It’s illegal in the State of CA to drive while talking or texting on your cell phone, unless you can do it completely hands-free. Unfortunately, you still see it happening all the time. People just don’t believe it will happen to them… until it does. :}


  4. I just hope the slow pokes are following Reiner’s turn of mind – saving gas and not texting or being distracted in some other way. What really scares me are the drivers who are texting and not slowing down. EEEKKK. Great post.


  5. I never text while driving. If I’m expecting an urgent reply, when my phone beeps, I pull over and read the message, but even that’s rare. I don’t even like to talk on my phone while I drive. People scare the crap outta me! I cannot believe how many people text while they drive! People I love! It’s gotten so bad, I can’t let some people drive my kids.
    There was a time, a few years ago, where I was behind a slow driver who was blatantly texting, and as she veered into the oncoming traffic, I honked at her. She immediately swerved back into our lane, but she flipped me off. SO, she’s welcome. Unbelievable.


    • I’m a bit of a ludite. I own a cell phone. But I don’t use it except for emergency calls. It’s a 2005 vintage flip phone for goodness sake! [I hear your gasp!]
      That must make for a whole ‘nother level of administration when you leave your children in the care of someone else! And reasonably so!
      Yeah, people scare the crap out of me, too. That driver who flipped you off? She has no idea that she was visited by a guardian that day.


  6. It’s illegal here. thought it was everywhere!


  7. Thanks for the public service message. It can never be repeated often enough. I’m shocked and saddened that people just aren’t getting it.


  8. People have the illusion of invincibility, and thus seem to ignore all these dire warnings.

    I know how dangerous distracted driving is–although I have not been hit by a distracted driver, I have been hit twice in my life, and am incredibly lucky that I have not had any grave injuries from either crash.


  9. It’s illegal in Florida, too. I won’t even take a phone call on the cell while driving. Too many crazies out there!


  10. Sometimes I wonder how we make it from A to Z unscathed as frequently as we do given all of the complications and hazards: weather, fatigue, preoccupation with personal issues, not to mention intoxication! I suppose therein lies the crux of the issue: several people have remarked that we feel invincible, or that harm will not befall us. That’s because we have made the trip dozens or hundreds of times without issue.


  11. S’pose I like it. Don’t really but. Never enjoy being reminded how many total dickheads there are out there on the roads, only too ready to kill themselves and others … 😐


  12. My father always told me to go slower to save fuel, and as a young person, I always wanted to go faster. Of course no mobile phones involved, just the love of speed!


    • Once I got comfortable behind the steering wheel of a car, I was all about speed. Then again, maybe it was more about getting there ASAP and getting out from behind the steering wheel because I truly was not comfortable.


  13. We couldn’t agree with you more – while I love to drive (and do most of it, since I taught my hubby to drive) I do anything I can to avoid the 400 series. People would laugh and scoff because we preferred 27 or 35 to go north…nothing to see along the big highways (unless you have a penchant for fast food and shopping malls). I’d rather have a journey en route to adventure than mundane ‘travelling’ any day! 🙂


  14. Here, here! Surprisingly, some of our back roads trips ended up taking the same amount of time because we don’t have to backtrack.

    And if you took the 400 highways, you’d miss out on some of THE best chip wagons on the planet! Chatty Kelly’s in Kinmount comes to mind…


    1. Years ago, when cells were newer and texting not the thing, we were hit by a 17-year-old who kept driving forward while the rest of traffic stopped for a red light. She was too busy chatting away on her phone to notice. A little humor followed. Her mom showed up and defended her daughter by saying “But she was talking on her phone!”. As in “What’s the big deal?” Mom truly did not think daughter had done anything wrong.

    2. I received a text only this week which said “I am driving.” I texted back STOP TEXTING!!!, and stopped responding, but in hindsight, should have not texted back at all–reading my response could have caused an accident.


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