Dear Prudence: Passenger's lecture on texting touches a nerve

  • Article by: EMILY YOFFE , Slate
  • Updated: November 5, 2012 - 12:15 AM

Dear Prudence: The other day I gave a friend of mine a ride to work. While driving, my daughter sent me a message that I quickly checked and responded to. My friend took the opportunity to chide me on the danger of texting while driving, saying I was being irresponsible. I would have agreed with her until she compared what I did to drunk driving. I lost a sibling to a drunk driver when I was young, so I know just how bad it can be, and what I did is not nearly the same thing.

I barely even want to talk to my friend after she hit that nerve, but now she has the gall to keep asking me to take her to work. I don't care that she gives me gas money, I don't want to go out of my way to do her any more favors until she apologizes. What's the best way to get my message across to her?

Prudence says: You're not obligated to give anyone a ride to work. The friend you were doing a favor for, however, was not wrong about texting while driving. Just take a look at the literature about the mayhem that can happen in a few seconds of removing your concentration from the road and instead being mentally and physically engaged elsewhere. I assume your friend did not know about your personal tragedy. So just be direct with her. Tell her that her comment about drunk driving was deeply upsetting to you and why. Don't demand an apology, just see if one is forthcoming and how you feel if you get one.

And please, when you're driving, turn off your phone. You may think you're that specially skilled driver who can text and drive, but consider how you'd feel if you were the cause of someone else's tragedy.

Send questions to prudence@slate.com

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