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What's the Rush?

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:50pm
It seems as though traffic is getting worse with every passing day. People are impatient. We need to get places, and we need to get there now. Never mind that we left the house a little bit late; what's with the traffic holding us up? What kind of stupid driver drives that slowly when its a 70 zone? And for the love of God, is it entirely necessary that such-and-such a driver cuts me off/doesn't turn on their signal/beeps the horn/screeches on the brakes/makes ridiculously wide or tight turns?

Driving has lost its pizazz and finesse. It's now a frustration of daily life; the art has been crudely taken out as everyone steers wildly and seemingly forgets the simple courtesies of the road. And every driver has something to complain about, between gas prices and construction work on the street and lights burning out and other drivers on the road- we're all a cranky bunch (although not in a good Cranky Fitness kind of way- maybe if we had a cupcake we'd be a friendly cranky bunch, too?).

There's a few things that I don't really understand about driving, most of which are things which I myself am guilty of as well:

I don't understand why we all speed. It's not worth it; you might get to your destination about a minute earlier but you've also likely endangered the lives of yourself and everyone else in the street. Not only that, but theres a good chance you've racked up yourself a nice littleBIG speeding ticket.

I don't understand why we creep forward when the lights haven't changed. For bikers, I can understand- you want to get ahead of the traffic and not slow down any drivers who might be turning in your direction (and if there's no one driving crossways from you, then theres no chance of getting hit or in the way so its really to everyones benefit if you get a little head start before the vehicle traffic). But for drivers? Why do you creep forward? You're not saving yourself time because you're going to get caught at another light or get stuck behind another car. It's not a race with the person in the lane beside you. Trust me, their little sports car can outdo what you've got. And you'd better believe it can, because if they can afford that luxury sports car then they can also afford the hefty speeding tickets that come along with the showing off (unless you bought your sports car as the result of a midlife crisis and can't really afford the car- but then, you're probably not the type of person to go about racing your car).

I don't understand why we all hate bikers and pedestrians. Sure, sometimes they get in the way, but sometimes they can't help it. We've got to share the road with everyone, and pedestrians do have the right of way- so don't snarl at them just because they're crossing the street. Remember that they're dealing with weather conditions, whereas you're in your fancy car with air conditioning/heat/a roof.

I don't understand why we all hate other drivers. Oh wait. It's because we all drive like idiots.

I don't understand why we all drive like idiots. Why the road rage? Why the incessant need to get places NOWNOWNOW? Why the lack of gratitude waves and turning signals? Why the excessive horn honking and rude gesturing and exasperated complaints?

Everyones in a rush. Why don't we all slow down and take a time out? Instead of rushing your way through traffic, weaving in and out of cars and muttering under your breath like a crazy person, watch the speed limit and drive it. Stop at stop signs and lights. Follow the rules of the road and let people go in front of you like the friendly, generous person you are. And if someone gives you one of their dirty, pissed-off looks, smile and wave cheerily. Because you're not going to be putting anyones life in danger, and you're not going to be getting into an accident. And because you're driving carefully and safely, you've likely got the good sense to leave a couple minutes earlier so you'll make it to where you want to be on time.

It's pretty easy. Be polite and courteous to your fellow drivers, to pedestrians and bikers, to officers and tow truck people, to wildlife crossing the street. Don't drive under the influence (its appalling how many people put everyone at risk in this stupid way). Don't multi-task with reading maps/eating food/texting on the cell phone.

Then again, we're a cranky bunch, us drivers. So if its possible, the best way to avoid all of the above silliness is to simply avoid driving! Get in a little exercise, save money and/or lend the environment a helping hand by taking a bike, public transit, or walking. The time it takes to bike/bus/walk won't be that much longer when you factor in the slowness of traffic and difficulty in finding a parking spot. And you'll even get the added benefit of not needing to deal with the stress of driving a vehicle. Now that is the way to do it!
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