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Rude on the road

When I was a child, after a visit with my grandmother, she would always tell us, “Drive safely and watch out for the other guy.” In her mind, it was always the other guy who caused the accidents. Spoken like a true, supportive grandmother.

We do have to look out for other drivers, not because they may cause accidents, but because we must be courteous drivers. There is so much rudeness on the roads today. We hear about road rage, and I am here to tell you that road rage does exist.

It is really something how our personalities change when we get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Suddenly, we own the road, and if someone else does something that interferes with our ownership, we get mad. I have seen how people sometimes react on the road to very minor infractions. I have to admit that when I see those reactions, I laugh to myself. It is humorous to see a driver go absolutely crazy over something so ridiculous. However, I am very careful how I react to that anger. Road rage is a dangerous thing. People who get that angry have no self-control.

When we see someone trip and fall in front of us on the sidewalk, do we yell at him and call him names? “You moron!!” or “What are you doing, you idiot!?” Do we laugh at him because he looks like some crazy fool? No, we show concern for him because he may have hurt himself. So, why is it different when he is behind the wheel of a car? People make mistakes, even when they are driving. It is rude to react with anger.

When we are driving, we think we are in total control. This is not true, and we all need to realize it. The best way to have control is to remember that anything else you do while driving can take the control away from your driving. Don’t talk on the phone unless you are using a hands-free device. Not only is it unsafe, but you WILL get a ticket for it. I have personal experience in this. I recently got a ticket because I answered my phone while driving on a side street, going 10 miles per hour. It happens. And don’t ever, ever, ever text while driving. Any activity that takes your eyes away from the road, even for a second, can result in a deadly accident. Texting while driving is rude.

Often drivers do things that are rude because they don’t consider the other person’s situation. For example (and this is a pet peeve of mine), if I am on a side street and want to turn left onto a main street, I wait until both sides are clear before making my turn. My car sits fairly low to the ground. On my right, an SUV or a high pickup truck pulls up alongside of my car, to make a right turn. I can no longer see the road to my right. When he has a clear shot to make his turn, I now have to wait until he is gone before I know whether something is coming to my right. By the time I know, I miss my opportunity to safely make my turn. I am thinking, “How rude!” Yet the other driver is oblivious to my dilemma.

I sometimes make mistakes when I am driving. I try to be a careful and courteous driver, but I may change lanes in front of you because I didn’t see you, or maybe I was waiting, waiting, waiting to make that left turn and finally I turned in front of you. Even though there was plenty of room, you had to slow down some. In this situation, please, don’t speed up and get mad, ranting and raving. Be courteous and remember that some situations are more challenging than others. When you see another driver make a mistake, just smile and wave (and not with the wrong finger).

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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“Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (I Peter 3:8)

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