Rules Of The Road

In the course of daily driving and commutes, we all face unexpected delays and annoyances. People drive too fast or drive too slowly, they cut in the lane without leaving enough room or apply brakes for reasons we can’t see.

To maintain a peaceful feeling, I often invent a story that makes it easy to excuse the other driver. I say things like, “Maybe they are late for work,” “Maybe they have a family emergency” or “Maybe they’ve missed their kid’s last school event and trying not to miss another.”

This story reminds me of what it feels like on the other side of the steering wheel:

When Jane’s car stalled in the middle of a busy intersection, no amount of wishing, hoping and trying to turn the key could get the engine started.

Just as she turned on her hazard lights, the guy in the car behind her began to lay on his horn, and he continued to honk even as other cars pulled around.

Jane walked back to the other driver and said: “My car won’t start and I’m waiting for a tow, but if you think you can get it started, have at it. I’ll sit in your car and honk at you.”

There is a lot of data that suggests driving today requires more focused attention than 10 years ago. Most cars now have access to real-time updates for traffic, communication and entertainment.

Many of us know how distracting technology can be while driving a car, but we very rarely consider how distracting our negative emotions can be behind the wheel. If we pay more attention to that, who knows, maybe we would arrive at our destination safe and in a better mood.

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