Are you a competitive driver?
I have something to admit; I’m competitive. Many people are and we need to accept that. I love sports and my two sons loves sports as well. I’ve coached all of my four kids in different sports and activities throughout their early lives and I really enjoy it, and so do they. To many people it’s important to win but I also promote having fun and gaining new skills. The same could be said about driving. Are you competitive while driving?
I often see drivers weaving in and out of traffic trying to get ahead of everyone else. Perhaps they’re late getting to their destination or maybe it’s just how they prefer to drive. Maybe, just maybe, could they be competitive with all the other drivers on the road?
As a driver on public roads I’m only somewhat competitive. I’m competing for the same space on the roads as everyone else. The only difference is I’ll use logic over emotion. For example, if I’m heading along the road and another driver is changing lanes directly in front of me, very close to my vehicle, I’ll reduce speed to let them in. Speeding up to block them may cause a collision, higher blood pressure for myself and just not a good feeling. Since it’s not a race, why should I block them from entering my lane? I’m not that competitive.
Let me ask you these questions and please be honest with yourself. Have you sped up to red lights just to get there sooner? Do you tailgate because you’re running late? Do you yell at other drivers because they aren’t driving as fast as you want them to? Do you speed often just to get to your destination sooner? Do you accelerate quickly from the intersection when the light changes to green? Do you run red lights because you don’t want to wait the 45 seconds for the next green light?
If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, you’re jeopardizing your safety as a driver and most likely the safety of those in your vehicle and others on the road. If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions let me ask you one more question; what do you think you’re really gaining from doing any of those things?
Remember that if you’re the aggressor, you’ll still have to brake for drivers going slower than you. Speeding will often get you to the red light sooner than others, but you’ll still leave that same intersection at the same time. Getting frustrated with other driver’s and yelling at them means you’re distracted and most likely not thinking about what you’re doing as a driver, which could cause you to get into a collision.
If you really want to be competitive on the roads, try doing these things instead. Leave with enough time to allow you to reach your destination. Even if there’s traffic slowdowns, leaving early should reduce your need to drive aggressively. Drive in the lane that offers you the best view, best flow and least risk so you’re not tempted to swerve throughout traffic. Remember, since you can only go as fast as the traffic in your lane, match the flow of traffic and keep enough space in front to be able to stop if the traffic ahead of you stops abruptly. Look well ahead and if you see stopped vehicles ahead or a red light ahead, gradually slow down early to see if the light will change back to green. Doing so, you may not even have to stop. That keeps you moving and also helps to save fuel.
If you really want to be competitive on the roads, think of the solutions I’ve presented. If you arrive at your destinations safely and haven’t caused problems for other road users, you’ve already won.