This morning, as I was driving to work, a small car sped past me and deliberately cut me off. I must have been driving too slow. Or not fast enough, at the very least. This happens frequently and I have come to expect the harried driving routines of the morning rush hour. A thought did cross my mind, however. Imagine if I were on line at the grocery store and someone just cut right in front of me. No 'excuse me' - no 'I beg your pardon, but I'm running late, do you mind?'
Imagine? It just doesn't happen. Most people are just not that rude. So, why...when we are driving a potentially lethal weapon, do we act uncharacteristically? Honestly, I cannot say that I, myself, haven't done this when running behind schedule. But I would NEVER act that way when face to face...with anyone.
What does being in a dangerous, albeit some luxurious, machine do to our courtesy? Why do we lose our manners when we are driving our cars? I admit, I may cut someone off, or not let them make that left turn, because I am turning onto the street they are pulling out of. But I would never have done that if I were walking down the street. Of course I'd stop and let them go. It's just common courtesy. But not in our cars...it's every man/woman for him/her self. If the law says we have the right of way, then gosh darn-it, we have the right of way. Forget manners.
Well, this driver is going to make a concerted effort to practice friendly, polite and old-fashioned manners while driving my mini-van. And if we could each pay it forward and give a fellow driver the right of way, maybe our driving ethics will become as courteous and commonplace as our social ethics. And just think...maybe there'll be a decline in car crashes and fatal injuries, as well.