Safe Driving

Our Old Friends Attitude And Awareness

Driving safely is more about attitude than actual skill. Awareness and tolerance, patience and common sense are all elements that are all too often in short supply when we drive. For some reason we get very territorial and revert to some primal beast, at least many men and quite a few women seem to.

The reality is the road is there for us to share, it is for everyone to use yet we often feel it is ours alone. We resent other vehicles being in our way and vent our spleen on the driver. Obviously the driver is both a cretin and doing this on purpose, yet the fact remains the driver is probably no better or worse at driving than we are and is definitely not doing whatever it is to spite you. They are most likely unaware you are behind them as too many people fail to regularly check their mirrors as it is.

It takes an emotionally mature person (I’m still working on me) to drive without casting dispersions on the lineage and mental capacity of their fellow road users. I wonder if people behave  the same in the horse and buggy days or is this an internal combustion engine created phenomena?

Once again, as in much of life and personal safety management, the core concept of staying safe sees us meeting our old friends Attitude and Awareness once more. Ask yourself what is you attitude to driving and to everyone else on the roads? Then take notice of how aware you are when you drive from A to B. You will be more tuned in and switched on if you are going somewhere for the first time and need to find the place compared to the run down to the shops for milk and bread. However most accidents occur within five kilometres of your home. Rather than move somewhere else (old joke), why not take more notice of what is going on every time you get in the car?

I never listen to the radio when I drive. I remember as a sales rep taking my boss around my territory for the day and him commenting later how it really made a difference compared to when he rode along with other reps who do have the radio going. I prefer to think about what I am doing than let some vacuous DJ think for me. I don’t need entertaining, I am driving. Taking a large and dangerous metal object, often filled with people I love, from A to B while avoiding colliding with other large metal objects filled with the people the other driver loves. That is entertaining enough.

I am not in a race. I know this because I have raced cars and go-karts and  I know the difference. Racing is easier because the road is wider and everyone is going the same way and nobody is trying to drop off kids, find parking or tow caravans. I am not a policeman and it is not my job to enforce the road rules, merely to obey them. I know this because I have been a Military Policeman and drove a vehicle with lights and sirens and had the authority to pull over military drivers caught doing the wrong thing. Without some form of policing the roads would be as chaotic and carnage prone as they are in many parts of the world where I have driven.

By far the best policing, the best road safety practices, are those we all perform every time we drive. If we think about what we are doing and do it as best we can then we should stand a very good chance of making it to wherever we have to go. Leave the ego at home. It is not a statement of your worth as a human being, it is a journey from A to B in a vehicle on a public road. There is nothing to win. Nobody thinks better or worse of you unless you get there safely or drive like a hoon, respectively.

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