A 16-year-old Wisconsin driver rolled his car July 24 when he was distracted by a piece of paper flying around inside the vehicle.
The teen veered off the road, overcorrected, and lost control. His car came to a stop upside down. The driver needed help getting out and was treated at a nearby hospital.
Sounds silly, right? Being distracted by a piece of paper? Then I recalled two friends from my youth who were real sticklers when you rode in their cars.
Dennis smoked in high school, like lots of teens in the unenlightened 1970s. And lots of smokers kept their packs of cigarettes either above the visor in the car or on the dashboard. Passengers who did the latter in Dennis’ Chevy got told firmly: “Nothing on the dashboard!”
I figured that was just part of his tidy, neat-freak personality. But perhaps Dennis had more common sense about distractions than I credited him for.
Same with Phil, my mid-1970s roommate. Phil was definitely not a neat freak, but he allowed nothing on his dashboard, either. No smokes, sunglasses, maps, food.
“I don’t want any crap sliding around!” he’d say.
The July news story didn’t say if the “paper flying around” inside the teen’s car came from his dashboard, but it now seems like a smart rule to me, to paraphrase Phil: “No crap on the dash.”