Sunday, August 29, 2010

Driving while on cell phone

The other day I was driving alone in car and I had a stiff target (read time) to meet as I was already about half an hour late. So I was driving in quite a bit of speed amidst slow-moving traffic. At times like this, we get caught up in self-centered and egoistic web, and suddenly, before we realize, we are in a race track and all the neighbouring cars and cars coming fast behind us become our competitors and one tends to overcome the other.

It was in one such setting, when I was gaining up on my so-called competitors, I got a call on my cell. I was tempted to ignore it - not because I was a conscientious driver who does not want to drive while on mobile phone but because I did not want to lose my concentration especially when I was on the verge of self-proclaimed victory (road was coming to an end!)! But then, the call was from the office, and I being more of a conscientious worker than a conscientious driver, I picked up the call. Even with the call, I was able to manage my good lead while at the same time ensuring that I was answering the queries on the call.

The thing that fascinated me was the human mind and body. Here I am on a virtual race-track, with shifting gears on left hand, steering the vehicle with my right, pressing on the clutch pedal with my left leg, shifting between brake and accelerator pedals with my right leg, my eyes darting between the road and the main-rear-view mirror and the right-window-rear-view mirror and at the same time, my brain was understanding the questions that I was being asked through my ear, processing the responses and sending the right response to my mouth which was then passed on to the cell phone which was craned between my tilted head and shoulders! Multi-tasking at its very best!

In fact, it was more like I was on auto-pilot and I was concentrating more on the phone. Because, my hands and legs and eyes were working on its own with minimal concentration. It is perhaps because of decades of driving that has gotten so in-built in this body and mind that, even with little relaxation of the mind, the body can handle itself - it knows when to brake automatically, when to change gears, when to accelerate, where to look out for road bumps, etc without really applying the mind and one need not specifically think about all these when driving because it all comes automatically with experience and age.

Agreed, it is not the safest thing to do in the world nor its a matter to boast nor an action to encourage others from doing but the very fact that the human mind and body is capable to handle such a situation in such a manner is just fascinating...

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