Picton driver who nearly hit a cyclist warns others to leave phone alone

A moment’s distraction in the car nearly caused April Abbott to hit a cyclist.

Her negligence could have killed someone. Forever changing her life, her family’s life, the life of the cyclist and his family.

Now she has a message for others – don’t use mobile phones while driving.

The Picton resident was driving along Remembrance Driveway in the afternoon last week with her two boys.

Her phone was docked in the hands-free holder and she was playing music from her phone via bluetooth.

“My kids asked me to change the song and I reached down to the control and I only took my eyes off the road for a second,” Mrs Abbott said.

“I heard my tyres hit gravel and as I looked up a cyclist was directly in front of the car.

“He was probably about a foot in front.

“I didn’t think I would be able to swerve the car in time but thankfully I did.

“It was awful.”

Mrs Abbott is a nurse and previously worked in the intensive care unit so she knows how someone can be injured after a car accident.

“Like a flash, I imagined what my life would be like,” she said. “I would have to live with the knowledge that my negligence had killed someone.

“I thought about my life and the cyclist’s family – they could have lost him.

“So many lives could have been affected for the sake of changing the song for my kids.”

Mrs Abbott was in shock and kept driving. After calming down she stopped and turned around to find the cyclist.

“I threw my arms around him, apologised and cried,” she said. “We were both shaken up.

“I wanted to tell him that it was an accident and to check that he was okay.

“The driver in the car behind me who saw the near miss stopped immediately to check the cyclist was okay. I was grateful she stopped to check on the cyclist as well.”

Mrs Abbott regrets is the situation and despite not doing anything illegal, she said the moment’s distraction was not worth it.

““Don't text, don't use the GPS, don't make phone calls, don't look at Facebook,” she said.

“It is so easy to set a playlist or GPS before you leave, or use voice control or just pull over if you need to use your phone because it is not worth it.

“I think I am a good driver and we think that only bad drivers, who drink and drive or who talk on their phone, kill people but even good drivers take unnecessary risks.

“Just leave your phone alone because if you don’t then it may be too late and you will need to live with the consequences. “