I don’t know what kind of driver you are, but I like to think of myself as a regular driver. I keep pace with everybody around me (ok, maybe a little bit faster but not crazy), change lanes when I’m supposed to, use my turn signal, and try to be considerate. Now, I don’t know why those concepts are so difficult to grasp, but there sure are a lot of drivers that don’t seem to understand driving etiquette. They drive me crazy and I try really really hard to be patient with these idiots on the road, but I can’t. No matter what I do, I experience road anxiety. What is road anxiety? It’s my version of road rage, but with normal people reactions rather than violent ones. I have bursts of anxiety, fright, anger, revenge, and (major) irritation. I try to remember to be gracious when I drive and give people the benefit of the doubt. Usually it doesn’t work.
When somebody flies up next to me when he knows darn well that the lane was ending quite a ways back, I should just graciously let him go in front of me. I know I shouldn’t move my car over far enough to stop him from cutting me off, but I do it anyway….sometimes.
When the tailgater behind me scares the hell out of me for several miles before turning off, I should probably just be grateful that I wasn’t hit instead of being scared and angry at him. Worse, I should probably not keep slowing down to make him go slower and slower because he’s in such a hurry.
To that person making a right on red and pulling out directly in front of me while I’m doing 50 mph and making me slam on the brakes, I should thank them for keeping me aware while driving rather than saluting them for their good work.
I should probably thank that driver in the left lane of the tollway going 45 mph and not moving over for doing his civic duty in helping all drivers around him avoid a speeding ticket. I don’t. I pass him up and give him a dirty look for good measure.
For the older woman driving through the parking lot like she’s the only one there and there are no other cars around, thank you for helping me work on my patience.
When karma works and the guy who is weaving in and out of traffic, cutting people off and driving like a jerk, ends up at the same red light, I shouldn’t feel glee, but I do.
I know that I should be a better person when I drive. I know that the only person I’m hurting with these bursts of road anxiety is myself. I should be sending out love to the other drivers. I should be generous and forgiving. I’m not, though. For the life of me, I appear to be incapable of this. The best that I’ve come up with is being able to contain my words and gestures to myself, which I consider to be a win. I’ll keep trying to be a bigger person, but I sure can’t guarantee it while I’m driving.