|That's LUKE'S father, not mine|
Before he passed away, my dad bequeathed something to me I’ll always treasure: his love of driving. He didn’t own a performance car, luxury vehicle or anything exotic (unless Oldsmobile 98s qualify). Still, I considered him something of a Jedi Master on the road. Not because of his DMV book knowledge or cat like reflexes – both of which I possess, by the way.
Instead, he passed down to me something more subtle, yet vitally important. He shared his insight into the “hidden” rules of the road. They aren’t found in official manuals. But they can be learned; it just takes time, attention and anticipation. It also requires a good deal of patience and cooperation.
Over the years, Dad showed me the importance of interpreting what was happening on the road and then adjusting my driving accordingly. When he was driving and other vehicles were nearby, he mentally calculated what they were doing, what they might want to do and then adjusted his driving to blend with theirs.
|Dad was a Jedi master on freeways|
It would be interesting to know how many folks on the road work in cooperation with other drivers, rather than in competition. Where did Dad learn this? If I had to guess: truck drivers.
Most, but not all, truck drivers tend to conduct themselves on the road collectively in a more cooperative fashion then we pedestrian drivers in our cars and SUVs. They do have a nasty habit of stacking up traffic by staying on cruise control when passing. Still, over the years, I have regularly witnessed truckers slowing for each other and flashing high beams to let other trucks know when it's safe to merge into their lane.
I don't see a lot of consideration among other drivers. In fact, the reverse is often true. People cut off each other without signaling and regularly don’t make way for merging drivers at on-ramps. It often feels like we conspire to keep fellow drivers off-balance, with one-upmanship the goal.
|Highway exits and entrances: literally crunch time|
Dad always let them in, even if the other driver was obviously being a jerk. Why? It was the safer play.
What makes us decide when to be benevolent and yielding and when not? So many times there are situations where clear cooperation can lead to mutually satisfying results. Yet we often let our egos get in the way of making decisions that are safe or right or just.
I believe when we’re on the road, most of us don't think about the other driver in human ways. It reminds me of how we can often show up in the world. We're so centered on our own lives we fail think how we might be able to help out the other person.
|Dad's '98 AKA: Red Leader|
Oh, we do our part. But a lot of times “our part” consists of offering mere remainders of the day; we only help if it's no skin off our back.
Some people believe it's a dog eat dog world. I believe the world is what we make it. If folks did a better job of cooperating rather than inhibiting others along the road of life, we all might experience this community in richer ways.
Follow J.R. on Twitter @4humansbeing or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.