Thursday, January 21, 2010

Road Rage

I was flipped off on the way home yesterday so I have been thinking about road rage. OK, being flipped off is the mildest form of road rage, but it is still road rage. I keep thinking about the feeling of anonymity in the car. The guy who did it, I'm sure, thinks of himself of anonymous. But when he flipped me off, how did he know I wasn't his doctor (I'm not a doctor) or his kid's teacher. We're within a couple of miles of my house (and probably his) and chances are that we'll see each other again.

I've been in a hurry and annoyed by the slower person in front of me (even now, there are occasionally slower people in front of me). Usually, it happens when I'm driving to class, and I'm later than I would like to be. But I always imagine if I flip someone off, it's going to turn out to be one of my students.

By the way, I didn't cut the guy off or drive slower than the speed limit. He was behind me for most of the way home through roads that were 30 m.p.h. (where I was going 32) and roads that were 40 m.p.h (where I was going 42).

Sometimes this anger gets to me (that's probably why I'm writing a blog that no one is reading), and I think I should drive a little faster. Then, this morning I hit a slick spot on the road (not the same slick spot where I had my accident), and I was very thankful that I was going the speed limit. I'm pretty sure I would have lost control if I had been going 5 m.p.h. faster; even at 30, it wasn't easy to keep control on this slick spot (black ice from the warm daytime temperatures and the below-freezing night time temperatures). I'm almost certain that someone else is going to hit that same spot this morning and wipe out. I guess I should start looking for that person's blog tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for the comment on my post. I put a link to your blog on my blog home page & facebook. Have you thought about creating a facebook "fan" page for your project? It would bring more attention to your blog. There are other things you can do, like post your entries to digg, etc... but you probably already know these things. As far as driving at the speed limit being relaxing, I don't think that's possible. I don't think driving is supposed to be relaxing. But I do think slowing down will decrease a person's heart rate and help prevent high blood pressure, even during those times when being tailgated or flipped off. As you have said, it usually takes a pivotal moment to cause someone to change their driving habits. For you, it was almost crashing while speeding, for me it was almost getting pulled over by a cop while speeding. Most people experience these moments and forget about them, or don't connect them to the bigger picture. Some people do, and that is a sign of courage and the ability of insight and self-reflexive thought. People are conditioned in our society to be impatient and selfish so to do what you're doing, and write about it in a blog, communicating it to others, is praiseworthy. When I tell people I drive the speed limit the most common response I get is "How do you do it?" Its hard at first. But its like anything else, it takes dedication and practice. I even use my cruise control to drive 25mph on residential streets. But after a few years I noticed most of the time I don't even need to look at my speedometer to see how fast I'm driving. I know when I'm driving 25mph, or 35, or 65. Also, as you've noticed, driving the speed limit and observing safe driving practices will many times influence drivers around you to slow down and drive more safely. Sometimes it does just the opposite. But I'm convinced the world of driving is a microcosm of the world around us in general. A person who drives thoughtfully is usually a thoughtful person, and vice versa. There's nothing we can do to change people who are bent on destruction. All we can try to do is control our own little worlds as much as we can, do our best to project a positive message, and hope at least a few others can appreciate it and/or apply it to their own lives. But you already know these things too. Good luck and if you create a facebook I Can Drive 55 fan page send me an invite.