Of course they matter!! Without common decency and common sense (okay, maybe they’re not quite as common as we’d like) our society would dissolve into pure anarchy. Seem too strong for you? Well, what if manners disappeared off the road as well as on it? Think for a moment about just how much of our society is ruled by manners.
The law calls it assault with a deadly weapon; but as a child it started with “Johnny, don’t hit your brother with your toy!” From almost the moment we’re born, lessons in manners begin: please, thank you, excuse me, play nice, share, don’t hit, etc. So, why is it after decades of training do those simple lessons in etiquette seem to disappear once seated behind a steering wheel?
Comments I’ve read on the issue of what’s appropriate or legal to do in your car include: “It’s my own #$@#$ vehicle and I’ll do what I want in it!” or “I’m perfectly capable of drinking my coffee, sending a quick text and driving all at the same time…I can multi-task!” Well, yes, I suppose that would be true if your vehicle is parked safely in your own driveway and not on the road with the rest of who are, in fact, affected by your choices behind the wheel. Contrary to some futuristic car commercials, we are not yet travelling the roads safely encased in personal protective bubbles.
So, shouldn’t good manners apply, perhaps even more so, when driving. Other drivers cannot hear vocal requests to change lanes, make turns, slow down, etc. That’s why car manufacturers included indicator lights, brake lights and a myriad of mirrors in order to see what’s happening outside of your personal bubble…I mean your car.
Road rage and rudeness are most definitely related. It’s pretty safe to assume that every driver on the road has somewhere they’re trying to get to; ideally in one piece and preferably on time. Taking mere moments to show consideration on our roads, demonstrating good manners and extending good will to other drivers will absolutely help reduce crashes and incidents of road rage. What you learned in Kindergarten still applies today…play nice…share…don’t hit…be kind…say please, thank you & excuse me.
Translation of common driving signals:
Please = indicator light a.k.a. I need to change lanes; can you please let me in? NOT speed up and make sure I can’t get one car length in front of you.
Thank you = wave of the hand a.k.a. appreciation for consideration shown – yes, your hand can be used for something more positive than a single digit wave.
Be careful = brake lights – you might want to pay attention to those 2-3 or more red lights telling you that I am slowing down/stopping. Do not drive into the back of me – this tricky manoeuvre requires drivers to actually be watching the vehicles in front.
Are you seeing more road rage and rudeness on the road?