The fact is, we probably can’t get the message out about safety to the most dangerous of repeat offenders—the chronic DUIers, the hooligans who just have to be faster than others, and the drivers who are addicted to their smartphones while behind the wheel, to name a few. But we do have three powerful tools at our disposal—motivation, compassion, and modeling.
In this case, motivation means that you give a damn. You want yourself, your family, friends, and even strangers to get home safely and live to see another day. You’re willing to educate yourself about how to be a safer, more aware driver (like reading this blog post) and to share that information with others. And, as anyone knows, it’s often better not to lecture, but gently share, suggest, and make info easily available to others rather than forcing it upon them.
Compassion plays a huge role in getting through many things in life, not just driving. It’s about letting go and moving on. It doesn’t mean that you need to be happy that you have to forgive; it’s perfectly all right—perhaps even necessary—to get annoyed and angry. That’s what gives us our motivation. But it does mean that you have the power to control how you will act and feel, not to take revenge or become a road rager and make an already difficult situation even worse. Stupidity on the road doesn’t necessarily mean malicious intent; the other driver was simply oblivious for any number of reasons, and getting angry at them and trying to educate them on the spot probably isn’t going to help the situation.
And, to be honest, you yourself have probably instigated such a situation and weren’t even aware of it.
Modeling is the biggest thing we can do. We can effect huge change if more of us are the drivers we want others to be, because humans naturally copy what their fellow beings are doing, even if they’re not always consciously aware of it. Keeping our speeds down, maintaining better spacing around us, and moving over to help out other drivers (and thus traffic flow) are all forms of modeling, in addition to being safer driving practices.
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