Friday, March 29, 2013

Attitudes Are Contagious

The traffic was slowed to 20 MPH on the south bound lanes of a highway with a posted speed limit of 50 MPH. The cars were holding tight with about 15 feet from one bumper to the next. However, motorists were trying to enter southbound from an eastbound side-road that was controlled by a stop sign. The right lane slowed more as some the southbound drivers opened their tight formation to allow the eastbound traffic to turn in front of them at a rate of every other car.

One black car had on a left turn signal indicating that the driver wanted to go north but no one was yielding. I slowed to crawl about 100 feet before this car. I never give hand signals of encouragement but the driver was astute enough to assume my intention.  He eased out in front of me.

The tailgater In the Chevy Tahoe behind me sounded her horn. I ignored her and held distance from the black car. Gaining the confidence that I was going to yield to him, he pulled out to block the right lane in front of me. The activity got the attention of another southbound driver in the left lane. That driver also yielded so that the driver of the black car could pull safely into the median and wait for an opening into the northbound lanes.

Looking into my rear view to see how Ms. Impatience was doing in her big Tahoe, I was pleased to see that she had opened the distance between us to about 50 feet and her passenger was waving to the next driver on the eastbound side road to signal that it was okay to merge into southbound traffic.

The only thing wrong with the scenario was the hand gesture. If a driver isn't smart enough to understand the opportunity put before him without a hand signal then he’ll need to wait for the next opportunity. The trouble with hand gestures is you never know for certain how someone will react. If they do something stupid that causes an accident then you bought into the responsibility for it with your hand gesture.

On the positive note, the Tahoe driver was impatient with me at first. However, when she realized what I was doing, then she in turn, showed some cooperation and kindness to another driver. How do you suppose that she might have reacted if I had flipped her off for sounding her horn at me?
Attitudes are contagious. It’s as easy to infect a positive one as it is throw anger about. The result is safer and less stressful driving.

Now you’re probably thinking of your stories about the super jerks that are always on the roads. Yes they are there but they are far less noticeable when, in my experience, I don’t engage them. They’ll probably have an accident eventually. I have chosen not to participate.


  1. Very good start to the blogosphere, Marlin. Everything we do is contagious!

    1. Yes, I have to agree with you Ms. Rain. Thank you for the comment.