Thursday, November 21, 2013

The prideful driver

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels”. – St. Augustine.

Even though Saint Augustine never drove on today’s highway system, he must have had a keen sense of what the future would hold. Driving on America’s roadways can be quite a challenge. Travel the miles of concrete and asphalt and you will find everything from texting to eating gourmet meals. Driving skills have eroded to juggling cellphones, razors and burgers.

But what do you do if you are one of those drivers who do not do any of those things? A sort of “angelic driver”. Don’t think you are off the hook. You might be guilty of a greater transgression; the “prideful driver”.

I recently spoke to one of those prideful drivers. He is a 17-year old who refuses to talk or text while driving, always follows the speed limit and refuses to drink and drive. But when it comes to driving, he is a “road hawk”; always claiming his space no matter the outcome. A humble driver? Hardly.

Take the time when another driver tried to force his way from a merging lane. Our young no-texting and no-drinking driver was not about to let him merge. After all, “I have a right to be here and you don’t”. But that kind of thinking nearly got him tangled in some guardrail. It might not have necessarily been “his fault”. But that makes no difference when you are injured and your car is totaled. Or maybe even something worse. 

Refusing to drink and drive, text while driving or do any of the other well-known driving sins is good! But what can save your life is becoming a humble driver. This type of driver doesn’t take other’s bad driving habits personal. Instead, they move over and let others merge onto the highway. They move over when someone is tailgating. They slow down and leave an opening to that driver who waits until the last minute to merge.

The humble driver is alert, scanning the road ahead, to the side, and is most of all, mature. They allow others to merge at the last minute even if it raises their blood pressure through the roof.
In short, the humble driver knows that a little bit of humility can go a long way in preventing a wreck, no matter whose fault it would be.

Unfortunately, the world is full of drunk drivers, those who use a cellphone when driving, and those who just flat-out do not pay attention to what is ahead of them. We need to continue pushing to change those bad-driving habits. We also need to instill a sense of humility among all drivers.
Pride can literally be a dangerous think. It can quickly turn a relatively good driver into a road demon. What today’s highways need are more angelic drivers.

Saint Augustine would be happy and so would many drivers all across Southeast Texas.

Marc Shepherd