Driv­ing in NWA

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - OPINION - David Wil­son

Some­times when I’m driv­ing in traf­fic and I am tempted to get per­turbed at the driver in front of me for go­ing too slow, I do a men­tal ex­er­cise that helps.

I imagine that the driver ahead of me is de­liv­er­ing a birth­day cake and they are driv­ing slowly to keep from sling­ing it from one side of the car to the other. If they are de­liv­er­ing pre­cious cargo such as that, it might even ex­plain why they are turn­ing off the road at a snail’s pace with a line of ten ve­hi­cles be­hind them.

They just don’t want to hurl that cake in to the floor­board. Why else would they be driv­ing like an in­tox­i­cated 98-yearold who can’t see?

When I imagine that maybe that driver in front of me doesn’t re­ally drive that way ev­ery day and that maybe he or she has a very good rea­son for driv­ing as if the open road is too much to han­dle, I find that I am able to be a lit­tle more pa­tient.

Who knows? Maybe the next time it will be me driv­ing slowly be­cause I have some spe­cial pack­age to de­liver.

In North­west Arkansas, there are thou­sands of ve­hi­cles on the road al­most any time of the day, and at least half of them are in a hurry.

That means the other half of the mo­torists are in their way.

And that also means that tempers may be prone to flare up.

As for me, I know I’m not the best driver in the re­gion. And I’m also quite sure that I’m not any­where near the worst.

But here’s what I do know:

Most of the driv­ers out there on the road have paid their taxes, are mak­ing car pay­ments, have ob­tained a driver’s li­cense, and are pay­ing auto in­sur­ance.

In ad­di­tion, prac­ti­cally ev­ery­one on that road has com­pleted some type of driver’s education in the past and/or has some sub­stan­tial ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind the wheel.

All of those things to­gether qual­ify a per­son to have ac­cess to the road.

That also means that ev­ery one of us has to re­spect an­other per­son’s right to drive, even if their per­for­mance or their prox­im­ity to oth­ers poses a ma­jor in­con­ve­nience.

Hav­ing said that, I rec­om­mend that any time we drive that we do the fol­low­ing: (1) take a chill pill; (2) ex­er­cise pa­tience; (3) be con­sid­er­ate; and (4) stop act­ing like the south end of a north­bound mule.

Oh, and one more thing: (5) re­mem­ber that au­to­mo­bile horns are to be used to pre­vent a col­li­sion, not to ex­press anger.

At the end of the day (or maybe we should say at the be­gin­ning of each com­mute) there are some un­change­able, un­avoid­able, ev­er­last­ing truths to keep in mind.

When thou­sands of peo­ple all take off for their des­ti­na­tion, some are go­ing to be run­ning be­hind, while a few will be ahead of sched­ule.

It is likely to be crowded.

The lights won’t all be green.

Some peo­ple will get up­set and some­one might even get up­set at you.

Some will be eat­ing and driv­ing.

Some­one will be tex­ting and driv­ing.

Some­one might cut you off.

Some fool might change lanes with­out a sig­nal or with­out a sec­ond’s notice.

Some driv­ers will ap­pear to be in­com­pe­tent. Mis­takes will be made. Ac­ci­dents will some­times hap­pen; be glad you weren’t in­volved.

Some peo­ple, when they get be­hind the wheel, may act in ways that they would never act else­where.

Some driv­ers might be just plain rude.

Your stress level might go up, if you let it.

To ex­pect ev­ery­thing to run per­fectly smooth on the road is per­haps a bit un­re­al­is­tic, so it’s best to take a deep breath and un­der­stand that the com­mute might in­clude some im­per­fec­tions.

Such as when one slow­poke in front of you ap­pears to be de­liv­er­ing a birth­day cake.

— David Wil­son, EdD, of Spring­dale, is a writer, con­sul­tant and pre­sen­ter, who grew up in Arkansas but worked 27 years in education in Mis­souri. You may e-mail him at dwnotes@hot­mail.com. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

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