Driving a Car in Society
My friend's daughter just received her driver's license. Those of us in various car cultures remember when we became old enough to drive and got our first set of wheels. It was freedom in a box.
Back in those days that I had a trip planned to San Francisco within a week of getting my license.
Well, I've been a driver now for 27 years and while it's had its fun times, driving a car comes with great responsibility. I'd like to take a look at what a car means to me when moving through society on a daily basis.
We interact with other people. We encounter other drivers, we pass pedestrians, we drive through private properties and we drive through public streets. That's a lot of interaction in one driving trip.
We are in control of a strong, heavy, movable object. Do you ever suppose people forget about this fact? If this large object, that we are fully in control of, touches an animal such as a dog or a human while it's in motion then it is surly going to injure or kill them. That's a lot of responsibility for the operator of that vehicle.
So this brings us to a point where we need to look at the very serious issue of driving a car and maybe come to a conclusion about how to make it from Point A to Point B without injuring someone or damaging property.
I have a set of rules that I drive by. You may not have heard of them, but I'll share them here. Then I'll explain them below.
Rules to Drive By:
1) Safety - Safety is the highest priority.
2) Courtesy - Be courteous to other drivers and pedestrians.
3) Be Expeditious- Do not procrastinate. Get to your destination.
4) Breaking a rule - If you need to break a rule, it CANNOT conflict with a rule above it.
First, if everyone drove this way, you would probably never hear a car horn ever again. Accidents would be a very rare occurrence, traffic would flow at it's maximum rate for every city on Earth. Additionally it would be much less expensive and less stressful to drive a car.
So, let's examine the rules...
- Safety -
That's an easy one. If a maneuver isn't safe then don't do it. If you think you're going to depend upon the driving skills of that other driver to get you out of a tight mess, you're probably not going to win that bet. BAM!!! Accident. If you think you can drive while texting, then why are other drivers honking at you when you're not paying any attention to the road. CRASH!!! You just spent a few thousand dollars on an accident just so that you could tell your texting friend about what you ate for lunch.
- Courtesy -
It's a known issue in Los Angeles that some of our drivers are the biggest assholes on Earth. Having driven these streets for 27 years, I believe that it's only getting worse. I'm not sure if the biggest assholes on the streets of LA are aware of this or if they even care about this. My guess is that they don't because the police don't apparently stop people for driving like jerks (and it is against our laws).
- Turn Signal -
The only form of real communication that we have from driver to driver is the turn signal. One way that you can be a more courteous driver is to use your turn signal when approaching a turn or changing a lane. I'll say it again... The turn signal is the only form of communication that we drivers have between us. If we communicate, we can work together on the streets to make traffic flow more easily. Not many people know how to use a turn signal. This is true because I see this on the streets of LA every day. It's a simple device and it's use by drivers does definitely help with the smooth flow of traffic. If you don't believe me then why do you need to slam your brakes... for the person in front of you... making the right turn... without a turn signal. It's simply because of this... If they had used their turn signal, you would have known to get into the next lane and you wouldn't have needed to stop behind them. Learn to use your car turn signals, please!
- Be Expeditious -
- The real flow of traffic. Expeditious is defined by Merriam Webster's online dictionary as:
marked by or acting with prompt efficiency
To help with the meaning of this, I think I'll show you some of the opposites (antonyms) of "Expeditious"
crawling, creeping, dallying, dawdling, dillydallying, dragging, laggard, lagging, lazy, leisurely, logy (also loggy), poking, poky (or pokey), slothful, slow, sluggish
Have you ever been driving on the streets, approached a driver from the rear, and used one of these words above to describe their actions. I'm sure if you were trying to get to an important appointment and you came upon one of these drivers, you would have used much stronger words (which I will not mention here).
- What it all means -
What I am saying here is that a great part of courtesy in our society is not holding our neighbors hostage on the streets. Please don't window shop while you're driving a car. If you must see something that is outside your vehicle, then pull over, get out, and go walk up to it... or, better yet, just pay attention to traffic and keep your eyes on the road. If you're having a deep conversation on your phone in the car and you must drive 2 miles per hour, then all of those people behind you do not want to be your traffic hostages while you are on the phone. Pull your car over to the side and, by all means, have your conversation. BUT, don't waste our time out there because it's very inconsiderate for you to do that. If you don't understand this, then you definitely shouldn't be in control of a large, heavy, dangerous object like a car.
So the point... What I'd like to say about these rules is simply for you to get going to your chosen destination in a SAFE, COURTEOUS, and EFFICIENT manner. And believe me, everyone will thank you for it. And the driving world will be a happier place.