A motor vehicle is potentially a lethal weapon in a small and confined space in which a body can be destroyed or life snuffed out. You may be travelling from a wonderful home to an exciting picnic or party, but the time in between is serious, important and dangerous.
There are four kinds of attitudes a driver can take. Our goal is to reach the highest level.
Driving Offensively
Too often a vehicle becomes the means of letting out our frustration, anger and hostility. The argument the driver has just had with his boss ; the difficulty with a child ; or, the frustration of having just received a traffic fine become uppermost in mind. The cause doesn’t matter, the consequences do. Flooring the gas, jamming on the brakes, cutting off the next car or parking in a lane of traffic are excellent ways
of relieving psychological pressure. Too many drivers take advantage of a thousand kilogram pillow to let out their frustrations. This is the lowest form of driving and one which is utterly reckless. Frustration takes the wheel ; sensibility stays.
Driving Poorly
There is one class of driver that simply does not know how to drive. This is the driver that cruises along at 60 kph in the fast lane on the M1 or M2, talks incessantly on the cellular phone, reads while driving or ignores the basic rules of driving. Included in this litany of bad practices is driving without a safety belt. The driver either does not know or does not want to think about how dangerous a vehicle is. This is a step better than driving to maim others, but the consequences are just as lethal. Sensibility stays at home and stupidity takes the wheel.
Driving Defensively
Driving defensively is the beginning of the other side of the spectrum. The defensive driver is aware of the psychological impediments of the offensive driver and the lack of understanding of the poor driver. The defensive driver is ready at each traffic light in his favour for the driver who cuts through the light, at each stop sign for the
driver who ignores it, or the implications of an « L » sign on the back of a vehicle. The defensive driver is a good driver. He protects himself and increases his survivability. Wisdom takes the wheel, but self-interest is the objective.
Driving with Excellence
The pinnacle of driving is driving with excellence. The excellent driver not only leaves his frustration at home, learns about the risks of driving, and recognizes the weaknesses of other drivers, but takes another step as well. The excellent driver modifies his behaviour so that when the stupid, the unthinking or the defensive driver errs, he expects it beforehand, and gives way. Driving with excellence means taking every step to help the other drivers avoid what is, in effect, murder or suicide.
The excellent driver gives and doesn’t take.
The next time you take the wheel, take the right attitude. Most of us strive or
should strive for excellence in all that we do. Striving for excellence in our life,
our loved one’s lives, and the lives of others at risk is the only way to change the national tragedy of road accidents which we face each day !