Letters – Reader chimes in on road rage
To the Editor:
I read your March 16 article [“Is road rage just a tantrum, or a larger problem?” From the Clocktower, March 12, 2009] and had to write: to thank you.
The subject of narcissism and people on the road, not paying attention, and hazardous to my mood and commute: struck a chord with me.
It is a pet peeve of mine since learning to drive. I,
too, have moments of road rage. Saturday afternoon while the Rites of Spring was in full swing, I was stuck behind a slow driver, late for my appointment. However, I reminded myself that I sat behind the wheel of a vehicle that if misused becomes (please, pardon the cliche) a potential weapon of massive destruction.
As an unlicensed driver for six years due to failing the written and driving tests still learning to drive, I received one traffic violation. And learned a valuable lesson that day about road rage and rushing during a commute that was not (thank God!) rush hour. My passenger, and the people in the other vehicle escaped unharmed, but the lives of everyone were in my hands and could have been destroyed. It was my only thought as shock over my actions stayed with me, until I arrived home. And had to tell my mother that our only mode of transportation was heavily damaged because I failed to stop at a red traffic light. I wasn’t paying attention and thought the light was green. I burst into tears telling her how I could have killed people in two cars.
My mom hugged me tightly telling me she was happy I was okay. I was devastated, but understood that her concern was for me too. It did nothing to change the lesson that still sticks with me. Yes, I paid the ticket or maybe my mother did. It’s been a long time since then.
Today, I am a licensed driver and have been for more than 20 years. I still have moments of narcissism (doesn’t everyone!) but my lesson taught me to respect and treat the vehicle I sit inside with the idea that no matter where my commute takes me, my car can do more than get me where I’m going.
I must be vigilant, patient, and respect the careless drivers swerving, weaving or tailgating and multitasking while driving. They may not know or appreciate that they hold lives in their hands every time they sit behind the wheel of their vehicle. I do!
And as I wave with one finger (not really), because as you pointed out: a case of road rage gone horribly afoul carried the same results. Lives were forever changed with another weapon of destruction.
With Lockhart’s growth and the increase in traffic we should try to follow these three rules.
Number one: The Golden Rule.
Number two: Obey traffic laws.
Number three: Always respect the weapon you use.
Again, pardon the cliché – cars don’t kill people. People who drive them do.
If the worst thing that happens while driving is a smile and a wave with all five fingers, it’s worth it!