Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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The Art of Driving Kindly
You can tell a lot about a person by watching them drive a car. There are aggressive drivers, timid drivers, cautious drivers, thoughtless drivers, distracted drivers, and hostile drivers.
Some drivers tailgate, following so close that a sudden stop could cause an accident. Some of these drivers almost want you to get out of their way so they can arrive at their destination five minutes sooner.
Some drivers refuse to let you merge onto a freeway or highway. Some don't even see drivers on the on-ramps. Others won't speed up, and still others won't slow down. Where do they think you'll end up if you can't merge -- on the shoulder, orin a ditch?
There are drivers who never signal their lane changes or turns. Or, if they do, it is right as they changing lanes or turning, not before. The purpose of the signal is to courteously let some other drivers know what your intentions are in advance so they can be more aware of what is coming up. This is not rocket science.
Some drivers behind you honk their horns loudly the second the red light changes to green. They are the impatient ones who want immediate responses. There are also the drivers who aren't paying attention to the light at all. They are busy texting or talking on their phones. They can't be bothered with moving forward when the light has changed to green. They just sit there. And the light changes to red again.
I believe there is an alternative to Road Rage, and that is Road Compassion. Keep a safe distance, keep to the speed limit, let someone else merge by slowing down. Be kind, be gentle, pay attention. You have a potentially deadly weapon in your hands.
In order to have Road Compassion, a person must genuinely care about ALL the other drivers and passengers, and want safety and consideration for all of them. Is that too much to ask?
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