McGregor Says: Keep your eyes on the road

With summer vacations on the horizon comes the predictions of the many accidents that will occur in our province.

At the top of the list is distracted driving and recent reports of higher fines don’t seem to be forcing people to put down their phones.

I watched some of the excitement of the Indianapolis 500 on the weekend and marvelled at the reaction times of the drivers travelling at over 200 mph.

I was wondering if the constant chatter from their pit crew in their helmets was a distraction.

The young driver that won, ran out of gas just past the finish line, obviously ignoring the little flashing gas pump on his dashboard as we all do.

Monday morning I had to go into the Big City at 9 a.m. and I found myself plucked from my couch and onto the Brickyard right in the middle of the Indy 500.

Drivers in expensive automobiles made risky maneuvers in front of me as they tried to switch lanes at high speeds to gain one or two position spots.

Suddenly, without anyone waving a yellow caution flag we had to decelerate and proceeded in line at a very low speed as emergency vehicles went by.

In almost every car, the cellphones appeared, as the drivers communicated to their pit crews at work that there was delay.

We had distractions back in my early driving days as well. It was not unusual to have to drive with your knees while trying to re-spool your favorite 8-track or pick the cigarette lighter off the floor before it set fire to the carpet.

Most of us had standard shift vehicles and trying to shift without removing your arm from around your girlfriend took lots of practice, particularly if you had four on the floor.

The automotive industry took note of this and supplied young drivers with ‘necker knobs,’ an ingenious device that attached to your steering wheel and allowed you to spin the wheel with one hand.

This meant your other hand was free to do, well, whatever.

They came in many designs — 8 ball, dice, car logos or scantily clad pin-up girls. Many provinces have declared them illegal unless you have a physical handicap.

We’ve all experienced the distractions of those vintage baby car seats that hooked over the front seat.

Driving with one hand while holding a baby bottle, searching on the floor or the seat for the soother while at the same time cranking down the window because the diaper smell is affecting your cognitive reflexes worse than any drug or alcohol could.

I had friends who got into accidents trying to eat an A&W foot-long hot dog while trying to balance a cold root beer between their legs.

Too much ketchup mustard and relish could cause that wiener to slide out and you had to grab it before it hit those white pants.

It was more macho to put your car in the ditch than show up at the dance with a big stain on your crotch.

Way back in 1959, Paul Evans and the Curls told us to, “Keep your mind on your driving, keep your hands on the wheel, and keep your snoopy eyes on the road up ahead.”

The driver was not supposed to see what was going on in the backseat with Fred.

Remember, there is no million dollar purse at your finish line.

At least that’s what McGregor says.