Driving defensively answer to road woes


Matthew Gerding, IV Leader editor

There seems to be a disturbing trend on the road lately. That trend is stupidity. It seems every day I see more and more people running stop signs, failing to use turn signals, hastily  pulling out in front of other cars with no room to spare, or other fascinatingly stupid maneuvers.

I have been in two car accidents this year. Both were caused by some idiot not paying attention to where they were going or what they were doing. Two. Car. Accidents. This. Year. That is two too many if you ask me.

The first involved somebody in front of us slamming on their brakes and stopping short. The person behind them wasn’t paying attention to what was right in front of them and had to stop short as well which caused us to rear end them. A witness who saw the accident said he noticed the second car not paying attention. My question here is “why?” Why would you not be paying attention while driving?

The second accident happened after we stopped at a red light. The light turned green and the cars started moving. All of a sudden we feel our car get hit from behind. After pulling over and assessing the damage the lady that hit us tells us that she saw the cars moving and then looked down for a minute. She wouldn’t say why she was looking down, but there are really only two reasons for looking down while driving; you either dropped something hot in your lap or you are texting. She didn’t have anything in her lap.

This is becoming a common occurrence on the road. I know driving has always been dangerous and bad drivers are nothing new, but it seems to be getting worse. I have a theory about this. I think that in our society of instant gratification we are becoming a hurried species.
Anything we want we can get almost instantaneously. The world is at our fingertips and available with a few keystrokes thanks to faster and faster Internet. Phones that accomplish the same things as multiple devices used to do make us impatient for anything not readily available.
The only thing that hasn’t changed all that much are our cars. Once we get behind the wheel, we are subject to imposed speed limits and stop signs and other drivers. We have become entirely too impatient. So we over compensate and drive far too aggressively. We forget that we are driving two thousand pounds of raging death on wheels.

So how we do we fix this? Well, unfortunately I don’t think we can. There will always be those drivers who think that their destination is more important than anybody else’s and that they have to get there ASAP or else the place will cease to exist.

All we can do is keep a wary eye out. We can drive defensively instead of aggressively . We can wait until we are safely able to check text messages. We can remember that there are other drivers on the road and we share the space.

Drive safely.