I was driving through a busy intersection and heard the loud motorcycle revving behind me.  As I looked in my rearview mirror I noticed the rider was too close to my rear and I decided in haste to move right to the next lane.  A loud “BEEP” alerted me to the error of cutting off a vehicle.  Within a few seconds I hit a red light and the offended party pulled up beside me.  In full anticipation I had rolled down my passenger window and as the driver and passenger looked at me I had rushed my hands to my chest and mouth “My fault, I’m sorry” with the most contrite face I could muster.  Not a moment passed and they both raised their hands in a grateful wave/acknowledgement.  My oldest son asked me what I was doing and I admitted to him that I had unwittingly cut off the car next to us and I was apologizing for doing that to them because it was my fault.  I was reminded again of just how volatile the world of driving can be.


Ironically our current main vehicle is a Ford Escape.  I love the name of this vehicle as it embodies what many of us may feel when we enter our transport of choice.  When you get in your car it may be the few times out of the day that you are alone—even if you have kids because you end up strapping them into their seats and then you are free to get behind the wheel and blast your tunes of choice on the radio waves, CD or iPod playlist.  It is also because of this feeling of freedom that I believe most people are at a very raw state of mind when driving.  From a sociology perspective, there is much to be learned from human behavior as it’s exhibited behind the steering wheel.


It always strikes me harshly how cold we can be to each other when we’re driving.  Seriously, does it really help to try to out-race each other when in a merging on-ramp approaching the interstate? How about when the traffic is crawling?  Depending on the commuting region you live in there are many different levels of rudeness you can encounter among your fellow drivers.  For instance, when I lived in the Washington, DC metro region I found that I had to let at least 3 drivers go ahead of me at a merge point because the 3 drivers before me wouldn’t even allow one driver to go.  Then again I can be a hypocrite in this regard as well since I’ve had my most impatient moments where I take out the rage of my current life moment on the drivers around me as I impatiently weave in front or around them.


If nothing else, let’s try to experiment with this idea: try to show kindness and mercy in your driving.  Allow others to go before you who are waiting to get on the highway or street, forgive those who may cut you off because who knows what terrible day or life they’re having, be more aware of the movement of those who are going faster and move over so they can keep going without having to move lanes and overall just see how it affects you to give more than you take while you drive.  I truly think that there is much to be learned from driving with more patience and love.  When I look around and see so many communicating on the phone I wonder how much we must need each other and why we treat ourselves so callously when on the road.


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