Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Are We So Full of Road Rage?

Is there something in the water? Or the air? Has the rain and cloud caused us psychological resentment that we need to vent on others? What is it about being behind the wheel of a car that makes some motorists (I include myself in this generalisation) behave in a much more aggressive manner than they would do in face to face meetings with other people???

In recent weeks I have really been watching people in cars. We think we own the world! We drive too close to cyclists; we don't give pedestrians priority - even when they're out in pouring rain; we bully drivers who make the slightest mistake; we are aggressive!

Personally I have started to try and modify my driver behaviour, to be more conciliatory. More human. I have tried to stop yelling at motorists who don't indicate on roundabouts....perhaps they're lost. I have tried to be more aware of other types of road-users, they're entitled to use the space too. I have tried to become more allow pedestrians to cross, to not take a motoring fauxpas as a personal slight. Not to assume other drivers are pulling out in front of me deliberately, or going too slow just to annoy me or breaking red lights just because they feel superior. In a word to be more patient.

It isn't easy. There are a lot of bad drivers out there. A lot of inconsiderate drivers. A lot of stupid drivers. A lot of downright dangerous and aggressive drivers. But everyone who makes a mistake doesn't fall in to that category.

Perhaps they are a person who has just had bad news? Perhaps they were up all night with a sick child? Maybe they don't know where their next mortgage payment is coming from? I try to reach out for the people behind the wheel rather than just the anonymous driver.

I've made mistakes myself, distracted maybe by whinging children or worried about some problem or other. Sometimes I've been plain wrong - although I am a very aware driver and try to take utmost care. But I'm human. Who isn't? I don't deserve the kind of vitriol that as drivers, we have become accustomed to doling out to other drivers who we think have slighted us. We need to pull back and become a bit more understanding and less precious. After all none of us is perfect. And other drivers (mostly) aren't just out to abuse the rules and or us!

A bit like in real life, we can't make judgements on people until we've walked in their shoes. (Or driven lol.) We need to pull back from a coarsening in our society indicated by our perceived absolute superiority complexes when we're behind the wheel.

Chill out people. We behave when in cars in a way that we would never behave when we meet people face to face. We're polite and accommodating. A little more of that from us drivers wouldn't go astray!