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  • Turning off the exit ramp, I pulled to a stop behind a sedan. There was an acceleration lane ahead of that driver, and he could have started and then merged. He didn't budge.

    Well, maybe he wants to move across to a left lane. I watched and waited as the clog of traffic moved past. When the last of the cars had gone by, I began to accelerate – until my wife screamed and I, turning my gaze ahead, yelled too! The waiting car had not moved. No traffic ahead, to the side, behind: all clear. Yet he hadn't moved an inch.

    By the time my truck screeched to a halt, I was three inches from his rear bumper. The imminent collision would have been deemed my fault, striking from the rear. What was this idiot doing!? I could have killed him right there and then! But that would have been deemed my fault too – murder, instead of the clearly justifiable euthanasia it was.

    I searched for possible excuses for his behavior and came to only one: he was looking at his smartphone, lost in a haze of text, email and photos. He didn't know where traffic was, didn't know he had almost caused an accident, didn't know I was about to kill him!

    I sat back and breathed a sigh of relief that metal had not reached metal. This was getting crazy! The roads were filled with distracted drivers, all of whom were under the misguided assumption they were good at multi-tasking. Instead, they were just becoming dangerous – much more dangerous. And they were everywhere!

    Then I realized one more thing: occasionally I would check my phone too. Was it someone important? Should I hook up the headphone? Should I check the digital map? I too had become absorbed into the distracted masses! Was this the beginning of the Revenge of the Machines, where they get humans to kill themselves off so they can take over? Forget Arnold; the Terminators are going to be little rectangles we hold in our hands.

    Time to bump up that phrase we learned in Drivers' Training: defensive driving is no longer enough; paranoid driving is now officially warranted. Good luck, and LOOK OUT!!
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