The BluePrint #1: ROAD RAGE

9:11 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

On the whole, my skill as a driver is probably average. Sometimes, I may assume that I have unlocked some inner code to what it means to operate  motor vehicle, but the fiftieth percentile is most likely where I live.

This is good, I suppose. My averageness means that I will never try to ramp onto/into an empty transfer truck and I will always be hesitant before boarding another vehicle whilst engaged in a highway shootout. Vin Diesel, I am not.

But in all my road mediocrity, I do excel in one area: road RAGE. Unfortunately, this is for the worse.

Rage of the road is one area where I struggle mightily in concealing my problem from the Boy. Usually, he is on hand for most of my outbursts. I will vehemently disagree with another driver's course of action and after I conclude my loud rant, I can always count on looking back to see the Boy staring at me, mouth agape and fingers wrapped tightly around his blanket. Fatherhood fail.

To be fair, there's A LOT of bad driving going on these days. It's inevitable with so many options behind the wheel. Back in the day, when horses were the preferred method of transport, if you took your hands off the reigns, it was OVER. If Last of the Mohicans taught us ANYTHING, we know that inattentiveness on a horse meant an arrowhead right to the sternum.

Now? You can watch Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye IN YOUR CAR and tweet about it WHILE DRIVING. For the overall species, this is what anthropologists call BAD. Take it back ten years, and using a cell phone while driving wasn't even a good thing. Now though, it seems tame in comparison to playing CoD: Modern Warfare 2 and freaking Farmville while parallel parking.

As a general rule, I think doing anything while driving is too ambitious. Think of it as church marquees. Is it cool to have a witty marquee that grabs the attention of an unchurched public? Why yes. Yes, it is. But your margin of error is slim. Guess wrong on your content and you may come off as small-minded, close-minded, or ignorant-minded.

"Better get sanctified or you'll get CHICKEN FRIED!" may seem like a winner, but it's probably not. Better to keep it simple.

Same with driving. Texting, tweeting, and watching Friends Season 2 all while driving may sound awesome, but staying alive is better. And besides, don't you already know that Ross is a TOTAL loser? (Smelly cat, Smelly cat, it's not your fa-ault.)

That's a long way around to my original point. As long as we operate vehicles, there will always be terrible drivers. People will always drive woefully slow in the fast line, they will never use their blinker when turning, and they will presume that their new car deserves two spaces instead of one. These are the inevitabilities of the world we live in. We do not control them.

What we do control though, is our reaction. These permanent fixtures of the road will continue to be flagrantly awful. But do my reactions have to be awful? My hope is for the Boy to roll with life's punches: on the road, at work, at home...wherever. And so I will begin changing this in myself so that it may be part of his blue print.

While on the topic of driving, I read this tragic, but fantastic story (Dead Man Driving) about an accident and how it relates to you or I. It analyzes the small choices we make while driving and how it can translate into a life altering decision. It's a long read, but WAY worth it. Especially if you drive with a high pulse rate (hand raised).