Why is it that when we step into our automobiles, many of us seem to feel invisible (I too have felt this)? We drive as if the other drivers are our enemies and that every “wrong” move they make is made just to slow us down and piss us off. Like the person in front of us who just sits there after the light turns green. “What are you DOING… GO already!” I yell to myself in the safe confines of my car (she can’t hear me). Seconds later, I realize that there was a senior citizen still crossing the road with her walker (true story). Now do I feel like an idiot or what? Luckily my windows were not rolled down.
You would think that my being a cyclist, and having ridden thousands of miles on the same streets with motorists, I would patience more patience, remembering just how luxurious and fast it is to drive in a car compared to a bike. I’ve also been the subject of motorist abuse while riding my bike… so why am “I” one of the impatient drivers?
I dont’ know.
So I came up with an idea… would I be yelling at my friends and relatives if they were in the car ahead of me (maybe), but I would never yell at my grandmother. So now when I feel my blood starting to boil as I’m stuck in a line of cars, with everyone jockeying for the best lane to be in for the next ten seconds before switching back, I just imagine my grandmother behind every wheel on the road. Then I laugh, because she never even learned to drive, but I hope you get my point.
So, what to do today?
- Instead of getting mad, play some music that you like (preferably something calm).
- Listen to a talk show.
- Learn a new language.
- Imagine how you would feel if you had to walk, ride your bike, or take a bus instead. (I don’t know… maybe some of those modes of transportation could be more relaxing, better for the environment, and better for your health).
- Planning ahead, allowing for plenty of time often helps reduce driving frustration.
- Put a reminder in your car (maybe a photo of your grandmother).
- Smile at other motorists, knowing that you may be the next to make a mistake.
- Instead of speeding up, let that person pass or come into your lane (it feels good).
- Road Love, not Rage!