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By VINCE LUECKE, Editor
The offense took place before the July 1 new law making texting and driving a crime. However, the self-inflicted message to me was clear: It’s dangerous to do much of anything behind the wheel other than driving.
I have been a habitual driving-phone texter for years. It’s a dangerous practice but until the last Sunday in June, I’d never had any problems. I must have been caught up in my thoughts that afternoon returning from St. Meinrad because as I negotiated a curve that included a bridge, my poor Buick left the right side of the road and ever so gently kissed the guard rail.
I didn’t have to do any fast jerking movement and I was alert enough not to overcorrrect, a mistake that triggers a lot of accidents, but the mishap scared me enough. Law or no law, my texting will no longer be done behind the wheel. The driver of a pickup truck behind me surely noticed my guardrail scrape and I kept waiting for him to pick up his phone and report a drunk driver.
I drove the rest of the way home before surveying the damage. It wasn’t as bad as I had feared: a heavy rub mark down the side of the car and a couple of small but still-noticeable dents.
If the message is that urgent, I’ll pull over and text or call. In most cases, I simply wait until I reach my destination. Really urgent communication is pretty rare.
I’m passing on my advice to friends. Learn from my mistake.
I’d have been more angry if I was driving a newer car and had to report the damage to my insurance company. It was a lesson learned the hard way.
As this column was being penned, Perry County’s 4-H fair was in full swing. It wrapped up Saturday night with a demolition derby.
As a creature of habits, I love covering the fair and 4-H’ers. Taking photos isn’t hard work and I find watching people enjoyable.
Speaking of the demolition derby, watch for an upcoming feature on some of the local drivers who climb behind the wheel and beat and bang against each other at the fair and other local derbies.
I had the privilege of helping judge this year’s 4-H photography contest. There were a lot of great color and black-and-white photos and it was fun chatting with 4-H’ers about how they captured images of people, animals, sunsets and flowers, just to name a few of the subjects.
The local 4-H fair relies on volunteers from a wide range of people. Their hard work was certainly evident last week. As a 4-H’er of nine years in Spencer County, I carry fond memories of working on projects and the fair. The smiles on young people’s faces last week in the livestock show ring, horse arena and exhibit building all prove to me that hasn’t changed.
Anyone looking to volunteer a little of their time in the coming year will find Perry County’s 4-H organization a wonderful, enriching experience.