Mind your manners
I was recently out with my kids when we went to the mall to look around. We decided to stop at the food court for some food and when I went to see how my oldest son was making out with his decision of what to eat; I overheard the server say to him that he had very good manners. This pleased me to no end and I verbally rewarded my son for his good manners. It’s something that I encourage from my kids and hopefully they will bring those manners into adulthood. But this leads me to ask, how are your driving manners?
Logic and common sense are a big part of making our decisions as drivers. If you notice that another driver’s lane is ending, you know they’ll need to change lanes into your lane. Shouldn’t you do something to help them change lanes safely? Is it logical to speed up to block them? When did driving on public roads become a NASCAR race? I’m sure you would want someone to let you in if the situation was reversed. I always ask my students that I’m teaching in the car that they should always put the shoe on the other foot when they’re driving. In other words, treat other drivers the same way they would want to be treated.
Driving manners, and a lack of driving manners, have brought injuries and criminal charges to many Canadians over the years. The anger that people have used while driving leads to a road rage. While I’m teaching students at Young Drivers of Canada, we discuss the difference between an angry driver and a road raging driver. The main difference is follow-through. The angry driver will keep that anger inside of them and may say a few things regarding that situation to their passenger. The road raging driver will chase down that other driver and either tailgate them or cut them off; to start with. The aggressive road rager usually gets out of their vehicle and goes after that driver. Where’s the logic and common sense in that? Some drivers really need to learn how to play nice with others.
Logic can play a large role in having positive driving manners. I watch drivers tailgate other drivers, mainly because they’re in a hurry, but reality is that the traffic light ahead is red. Why put pressure and risk on the driver ahead of you just because you’re late? There’s nothing that can be done by that driver to help you get to your destination sooner, especially if you’re on a road that has one lane in each direction. They have no place to pull over to let you pass, so why risk your safety and the safety of others by being a rude driver?
When I was involved with Canada’s Worst Driver as a judge over their fist 3 seasons, we had our share of aggressive drivers. On season 2, there was a driver who tried to “nerve” the other drivers off the road so he could pass them. He added pressure to them by tailgating or by racing up quickly from behind so they would fear them and move over so he could pass. Would you consider this to be positive driving manners? I don’t think so. How does an action like that create a positive atmosphere on our Canadian roads?
When I’m teaching students to drive, we always delay before pressing the gas when the light changes to green so we can scan the intersection to ensure that there isn’t a driver running the red light. This usually takes roughly 2 seconds to do, but the other day while doing my scan on a fresh green light, I got honked at by the driver behind me and when I checked my mirror, he flipped me off! How rude was that? The interesting part of this was that as he passed me, he eventually entered a parking lot. Why was he in a hurry to shop? Is he that rude with all parts of his life?
I can imagine how these people respond to people at their work place when someone else makes a mistake. Do they start yelling at them and screaming obscenities at them all of a sudden? Most likely they don’t do that, but what’s the difference? What brings out the negative attitude of someone when they’re driving their vehicle?
We need to set the example for other drivers. As drivers, learn to co-operate with other road users by anticipating their needs and adjusting speed or by changing lanes to create space for them. These drivers may appreciate it enough that they may do the same thing towards other drivers. I do believe in “what goes around, comes around.” Do you? If you do acts of kindness, perhaps the other drivers may do the same toward other drivers. However, if you act aggressive and violent on the roads towards other drivers, they may do the same thing toward other drivers. Always think of the consequences of your actions before you do them.
So here’s my challenge to you all; do something nice for another road user. Let them in your lane during a lane change. Give them the right-of-way at intersections. Wave thank you after they’ve done something nice for you. Try it. I dare you! I double dare you!