It is a five-mile drive home from work. I nearly killed three people. Four, counting the baby I must assume was in the hooded pushchair. You can imagine the headlines, “Mother and baby killed by careless driver…”
Few would look beyond the surface. The driver would be condemned, punished, ostracised… and would live crushed by a burden of indelible grief and guilt.
Who would really have been at fault? The driver already halfway through a manoeuvre on the road? Or the heedless pedestrian, too busy talking on the phone to check before pushing their child into the path of a moving car?
In the case of this particular mother, she didn’t even turn her head or pause her conversation when I slammed on the brakes, mere inches from tragedy. Nor did the young man singing soundlessly to the music from his earphones… or the middle-aged woman in mid-business call, apparently haranguing thin air through headset and mic. All of them stepped into the road without a pause, without a look and without any thought for oncoming traffic or possible danger.
And it annoys the hell out of me.
Drivers who cause accidents by using mobile devices whilst driving are severely penalised. There are laws against it. But pedestrians can, apparently, cause accidents whilst using mobile devices with impunity… and no thought for the anguish of the driver.
No matter how careful you are, on foot or behind the wheel, accidents can and do happen. But they should be just that… accidents. Not the result of the blasé self-absorption that blinds us to where we are or even our own safety.