Monday, July 29, 2013

Rules of the Road

I wonder what happens to us after we get our license. We get into our big bad vehicles and we loose that sense of responsibility that was instilled in us. The rules of the road fly out the window onto the road and we run them right over....

As you grow older and "wiser" (Really?! I begin to question this), you start to use less caution. You begin to change lanes without a turn signal - expecting others to just know you are coming into their lane and to get out of the way. You think that because you are in a bigger vehicle or a faster vehicle that you have the right away in a merging situation even when you don't and you cause multiple vehicles around you to almost cause accidents because you are careless of others and only thinking of where you want to be or where you want to go. What about the motorcyclists who swerve in and out of traffic, completely ignoring the rules and regulations set forth by law enforcement - driving on the dotted line between two vehicles. What if they didn't see you, what if they went to change lanes, what if they swerved a little to the left or right - you would be squashed on the pavement. 

Is where you are going that important that you must break all the laws in order to get there a few moments faster - or not faster at all?! Haven't you ever been on the highway with that jerk that cut everyone off and sped past everyone - just to get off the highway and be sitting at the same light as him waiting and turning at the same time as him. He didn't get anywhere any faster than you - you obeyed most or all of the laws and he broke most or all of the laws. It didn't seem to prove him any good now did it?

Or there is the instance of the guys pulled over in the middle or the side of the road having a road rage battle because someone cut someone off - really? How adult can we really be about all of this. Can we not share the four lane highway and all get along? Or do we have to bring the playground and politics onto the highway as well. It is as if we get those keys in our hands and we suddenly feel a little bit more powerful. We sit in the seat and are behind the wheel... just that much more powerful. O and don't even mention turning on the car and hearing the engine roar... that just makes you pee your pants because you can't even handle all the power you feel now... 

Really? What is it about driving and cars that brings out the need for power and control in people. So much need that we cause such a ruckus that we aren't even through July and there are already almost 600 highway accident deaths flashing on the screens as I drive down the road. Can we not control it? Can we not just utilize the vehicle for what it was made for? a form of transportation that will get us from point a to point b.

Don't get me wrong - I struggle with this. I struggle with road rage. When the guy in front of me is going 80 and is a few car lengths ahead and suddenly for no reason slams on his breaks and almost causes a multi car pile up .... well I might do the Chicago hand shake in my car and yell out - what the hell?! But then I have to just tuck all that away and get back to driving. I try to imagine all the reasons that would justify a sudden break such as this that would make it okay and excuse away this behavior so that I am not mad at said man for doing such a thing and almost causing me to rear end him... Then I start thanking God that he had my back and I was paying so close of attention to the road that I had cat like reflexes and didn't rear end him. It's a process... but I get over my road madness pretty quickly. Because I will not allow such meaningless things to stress me out or ruin my day. 

The other day I was watching some tv show and there was a man telling his story of how he ended up in prison. He got into a fight with a guy over a road rage issue. They were fighting on the side of the road - it turned physical and he defended himself. He ended up killing the other guy out of defense, but he also ended up spending life in prison. 

Now tell me... is it worth it... over a lane change... to give up your entire life?

Think about all the people who don't look before they change lanes - who text and drive - who roll through stop signs - who don't drive 25 when kids are around.... etc... it's things like this that cause the accidents that take lives... 

Once I started opening my eyes to all the anger and aggression that would build inside of me while I was driving I started using that time differently. My drive time is my decompression time. Believe it or not - I utilize that time to destress. I know it sounds ironic, but it works. I pray - I blog (using Siri) - I sing - turn the music up - whatever it takes to decompress is what I do. It has definitely changed that time for me and my entire commute. Not that I enjoy traffic any more than anyone else... believe me - I hate traffic - stop and go - construction - etc.... but I don't mind driving or having time in the car by myself. It's my area for solitude.

What do the rules of the road mean to you? What does a commute look like for you? How can it change? 

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