Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Chatting up more bravado than a drunk

Mind the long bus

I could not help a smirk this morning as I rode on the bus to work. I usually take the backseat in the double-length 18-metre long bus because it gives me a 10-stride advantage of getting off and getting to the office quicker - well, it is a perception.

These long buses which could top 10 tonnes or more can be manoeuvred like snakes as they take corners, but the comfort could almost tempt you into thinking you are in a car.

That false sense of existence leads the absent-minded to expect the bus to stop abruptly if they suddenly realise that the bus is just about nose past their stop - very few drivers risk the act of applying the brakes though the passenger would almost always rain insults on the poor driver for not stopping.

We live in a world where you can never ever be at fault no matter how blatantly obvious it is.

So, today, I could not take the back seat, but the one just before because this voluminous man had splayed himself on the three back seats, well with one occupied by his rucksack.

Yapping like a dog on a phone

Then my peace and tranquillity was assaulted beyond tolerable limits as he mouthed into a phone call that almost lasted the whole journey, my irritation is getting quite palpable.

I suddenly thought, he would miss his stopped because he seemed so engrossed in his talk to be attentive to his surroundings, then he pressed the stop button to alert the driver, by which time it was obvious that driver would drive on to the next stop rather than turn his passengers in crash test dummies.

So, the man ended his conversation on the phone to rail abuse on the driver for not heeding the bell which the driver just ignored.

On reaching the next stop, when for which I think the driver had been alerted, the bus stopped and our man got off - in my mind the 1 kilometre walk back to his original stop and consequent destination would do him well.

However, the point is, I do not need scientific papers to clearly illustrate that there is nothing you can conveniently do with adequate concentration when you are chatting on a mobile phone.

Dangerous as drunks

It has been said car phone users are four times more likely to crash, that could just be as dangerous as drinking under the influence.

I have not just seen this kind of concentration stupor with car drivers, it applies to cyclists who I have see ride their bikes as if they are on a zigzag course and pedestrians who have walked into the path of vehicles all as they chat to their pals on their mobile phones.

To the exclusion of all else

Basically, there are many jobs where one can multi-task but when it comes to speaking on the phone you are trying to block out every kind of interference whilst trying to be completely communicative on the phone - this leads to a loss of awareness - a feature necessary to do this properly, rightly, meticulously, confidently and consciously.

The problem is, many do really think they are both capable and aware such that use of a mobile phone cannot in any way impair judgment - that is same bravado of drunk.

Doing right

I rarely do other things when I am on the phone except if it is related to a support calls - in fact, I just had a 30-minute conversation with an old colleague and left this article unfinished to concentrate on the call - it was social.

If you do have to talk, make safe your situation by aborting everything to concentrate on that call - in a car, hands-free sets are not the answer, rather, park your car and take the call, in other cases where there is risk of collision or accidents whilst walking or riding a bicycle - stop and find a place out of the way to take your call - better still, let your phone take a message and you can deal with it later when you are safe and sure.

Reference

Study: Drivers on Mobile Phones as Impaired as Drunks

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