Dear Amy: My husband insists on being the driver on both long and short car trips.
However, he has a bad habit of texting or otherwise playing on his phone while driving. I’ve told him to stop because I feel it is dangerous, but he feels he is in control and can “do both things at once.”
As the passenger, I’ve offered to search on his phone or reply to an e-mail or text on his behalf, but he doesn’t accept these offers.
Most frequently, he gets annoyed at the suggestion that he put his phone away while driving. Before trips even begin, I’ve offered to drive, especially if the trip is happening during “business hours.” He refuses.
Most recently, we were on a family vacation drive that started on a Friday. My spouse spent the three-hour drive taking conference calls, checking and responding to e-mail, texting and instant messaging.
I don’t know what to do. It makes me so uncomfortable for him to be on the phone while driving, but he won’t let me take the wheel.
Amy says: If this driving dynamic continues — with your husband “not letting” you drive while he drives dangerously — then eventually (as the popular country song says) Jesus is going to take the wheel, eliminating this problem altogether.
According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa.gov), distracted driving accounted for 3,450 deaths and 391,000 injuries in 2016.
Your husband may not value your life, his life or others’ lives enough to make a different choice. But you value all of these things, and so you should force the issue by “not letting” him drive you under these dangerous conditions.
The next time you take a longer trip, you should urge him — using all of the logical arguments — to turn over the driving to you, or to basically let you co-pilot his phone. If he refuses, rent (or borrow) a car and tell him you’ll meet him at your destination.
Overheard at coffee
Dear Amy: Last week at my favorite coffee shop, two college-age girls sat in the booth behind me. I heard all of their loud conversation: The descriptions of their boyfriends’ sexual proclivities and abilities were astounding. Their women friends were also discussed in much detail.
Because I was not finished with my meal and the shop was full, I did not wish to move.
They then started to clip their nails and do their makeup, all the while discussing the boys and their female acquaintances.
I’m an old man, unused to and disturbed by such behavior. Regardless of receiving a rude reply, should I have said anything to them? Or was I correct in forgoing my coffee treat and departing quickly?
Amy says: I’m going to share a sad reality of my job: Sometimes I have to tell people in distress there is nothing tangible they can realistically do to inspire other people to behave differently.
In your case, you are being exposed to the crassness of everyday life, where people overshare in very loud voices and — unfortunately — clip their nails in cafes, on airplanes and in business meetings. (What accounts for this strange trend to groom oneself in public? I think we’d all like it to stop.)
You could turn around and ask these women to lower their voices, but they might respond by turning on you. If this is a chance you’re willing to take, doing so might have made you feel better.
Send Ask Amy questions to Amy Dickinson at P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook: @ADickinsonDaily.