31 August 2013

Manners, Driver Courtesy, and Consideration for Others

Sub Tuum.

It seems driver courtesy is completely absent from today's roadways. How many among us have almost been run over? How many among us have been cut off by a driver impatiently bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic, only to arrive at the red light a few moments before you? 

The world is suffering from a lack of manners today. Most of us are guilty of breaches of etiquette from time to time, but the problem has exploded into a societal epidemic. This did not happen overnight. It has been slowly getting worse over the last several decades. As the schools, the government, and even now the parents preach a message of pure individualism and entitlement to children, it really is no wonder that few seem to have a sense of courtesy or any sense of consideration towards others. 

On the roadways, where many people drive heavy automobiles capable of causing serious injury to others, it would make sense that courtesy and caution would be the watchwords of drivers. Sadly they are not. Backing out of a parking space, one is likely to encounter drivers who cannot stop and wait, but feel compelled to whip right around you, even at a speed far too fast for a parking lot. Impatient drivers create dangerous situations. Even many police officers do not set a good example for driving. Are we in such a hurry to get "there" that we cannot enjoy being "here?" Is wherever we are driving so incredibly important that it warrants endangering or inconveniencing other people? Or is it merely that we have lost any sense of consideration of others? Other people have become unimportant to us as a society. Our society lives only for the individual and the concerns of the individual. Other people simply do not matter to our society. What a sad world it is when our interactions with others only matter in so far as they benefit us. 

How we drive on the road truly does say a lot about how we value other people. Next time you are tempted to cut someone off on the road, let them pass. Next time you feel you have to rush through a parking lot, slow down and let others get out of their parking spaces. Maybe they have somewhere to be, too. Next time your blood pressure goes up with anxiety at the "slow driver ahead of you who is actually already doing 5 miles per hour over the speed limit," take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the scenery where you are (but still keep your eyes on the road!). The more courteous and considerate you are to other drivers on the road, the more courteous and considerate you are likely to be to other people in other situations. Give it a try!