It seems like these days, we hear story after story about road rage, especially in busy cities like New York. You’ve likely seen someone drive this way or heard the stories. Driver gets angry at another driver for cutting them off, not letting them into the lane or for operating a vehicle at unsafe speeds. Gestures are exchanged, perhaps even a verbal or physical confrontation between two or more parties occurs. Rinse and repeat.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that in our NY defensive driving course, we offer instruction on what to do if you’re ever in such a situation and how to quickly calm yourself down if you become angry at another driver so that road rage incidents don’t escalate into potentially violent encounters. But this post will focus more on the theme from Pope Francis’ annual New Year’s homily. In it, he praised the everyday kind person as the individual that has the most influence on society. Specifically, he addressed driving behavior.
Moving in Traffic with Sense and Prudence
We’re all seemingly in a hurry these days. Places to go, people to see, deadlines to meet. Time is money and money is time. This behavior is often exhibited on the roads, as drivers are hesitant to let people into their lanes in times of congested traffic, honk when even the smallest slight is perceived and speed up rather than slow down.
That’s why it was refreshing to hear Pope Francis praise drivers who operate their vehicles with a sense and prudence in his annual homily. Is this how you drive? Or are you in such a hurry to get to your destination that you drive with an “every driver for themselves” mentality? The latter is not how Jesus would drive.
How Would Jesus Drive?
Obviously, the automobile was nowhere close to being invented in the days of Jesus, but we can glean a great deal of insight from Jesus’ teachings on how he would have operated a vehicle should it have been around. Jesus, being a welcoming and accepting individual, would have driven in a way that helped mold the community that he was trying to build. For instance, we’re betting Jesus would have exhibited some of the following driving behavior:
• Always allowing others to merge into his lane in front of his automobile to foster a community of friendliness.
• Always giving a “thank you” wave to those who allowed him to merge or take the right of way.
• Slowing down instead of speeding up if it meant helping other drivers on the road or pedestrians on the streets.
• Pulling over to the side of the road to speak on a cell phone, check his phone or reach for an errant object in the vehicle as a means of not disrupting traffic or risking driving in a distracted manner.
• Conceding an open parking spot to another vehicle that appeared to be vying for it.
• Waiting to parallel park until traffic cleared and he wouldn’t risk stopping traffic to do so.
• Always allowing pedestrians to cross public streets, even when there’s no designated cross walk area.
As you might realize, how we drive says a lot about who we are as people and what type of a community we’re encouraging. It’s why it was made a point in the Pope’s New Year’s address. In addition to promoting a more welcoming community, driving in a kind manner is also likely to lead to safer all-around driving. We’ll cover many of these points in our defensive driving course. But we leave you with this: What’s your hurry? Slow down, be kind and drive safe.