FORGIVENESS FROM BEHIND THE STEERING WHEEL
The following scenario is one that I have experienced out on America’s highways on far too many occasions. And I suspect that I am not the only one that can make that claim. It starts out something like this. Your alarm doesn’t go off because of a power outage at some point overnight so you rush to do the absolute minimum trying to get on the road just as quickly as you possibly can. If you cut as many corners as possible you might make it on time for that meeting or appointment with a little luck. And even after one paragraph you should know where this is going.
The first thing you notice is that no one seems to want to drive the speed limit. This seems like a cruel joke at first as you consider that every other day it seems as if everyone blows by you like you’re standing still. After a short while you realize that no matter what, you are just going to be late and there is absolutely nothing humanly possible that you can do about that so you slow down. Now that you have accepted your fate you find that some cracker jack driving a beat up heap of metal that probably isn’t even legal to be out on the road thinks that he or she is going to save a few seconds to where ever their headed by cutting you off. After the appropriate hand signals, you let it go because you’re really in no mood to be shot at today.
You finally make the turn onto a road that isn’t as heavily traveled while letting out a sigh of relief as you cruise somewhat peacefully along adding a little speed to your journey. A fair distance ahead you spy a car that is waiting to make a turn onto the same road that you’re now traveling on, you wonder why this person just doesn’t make the turn as there is plenty of room to safely do so, but you conclude that they must be an overly cautious driver that is going to wait for you to go past, wrong! The next thing you know you are slamming on the breaks as this person guns the engine and explodes out in front of you as if you were some kind of invisible entity. Another deep breath and the realization that hand gestures are pretty much worthless anyway and you cautiously continue.
Finally you make it out onto the highway where you pray that some sanity and respect will still pervade at the higher more dangerous speeds of this multilane asphalt world. You settle in to the slow lane because you are already gun shy from the drivers that you have already encountered just to get this far. And it doesn’t take long for proof, at least to you, that this was a wise decision as you see a car well behind you but gaining fast in the lane just to your left. The moments pass and the car blows past you doing at least twenty five miles per hour faster then what you’re doing. But just as suddenly, his brake lights scream out at you as he pulls in just ahead of you and slows down to a speed well below the posted speed limit for the next half mile until the next exit, which he takes, all the while as you ponder the empty lane behind you and why he just had to be in front to take this exit?
You’re now on the home stretch, just a another mile and you will finally be out of this melee of near misses and complete rudeness, up ahead is a hidden curve in the road and a double yellow line separates the two sides of the blacktop. Almost seemingly out of nowhere a hot road with an engine that should only be legal out in the desert away from all of humanity flies past you ignoring both the no passing zone and the impending curve ahead. Instinct kicks in as your foot goes from gas to break in less then an instant allowing this idiot to just barely make it back into your lane as a semi comes around the corner and nearly has to ditch his truck into a giant oak tree to his right. And this time you don’t even have to consider gestures from the heart, the truck driver is expressing enough emotion for both of you.
As you get out of your car at the parking lot of your designation it hits you, all of these people were probably in a hurry to save a few seconds to get nowhere in particular while risking everyone else’s life in the process.
And that night when you’re home with the work day done, you turn on the news only be greeted with a story about a family of four, the youngest being five, all killed by a drunk driver. And you wonder if anyone is watching that just might take the hint and be more careful the next day when they get behind their own wheel of death.
One can only hope!