Finally arriving to work after fighting through a heavy fog, I joined the morning coffee-break conversation about the weather and various “safe” workplace topics.
The point was raised (as it always is) that “I don’t worry about bad weather. I’m a pretty good driver. It’s the other drivers that you have to watch out for, though.” A chorus of agreement and nodding heads followed (as they always do) and we moved on to another topic.
I couldn’t help but think of the nonsense of this ideal. If everyone is such a good (or “pretty good”) driver, who are these “other drivers” we have to be so careful around? If everyone is driving with safety in mind, why would we need to “watch out” for anyone?
As a “pretty good” driver myself, I will often shake my head in disapproval when someone cuts me off, slams on their brakes for no apparent reason, or otherwise does something that is most surely not on the safe side. I may even offer them a few choice words. Then, five minutes later, I become that very same driver! Though (perhaps) subconsciously, I somehow become the very person I judged as unsafe, not paying attention, maybe even an ‘idiot,’ or worse.
Believe me, I don’t take this confession lightly. But the point is that I am making it. I’m not a good driver. Not even a “pretty good” driver. And while I still don’t believe I’m an all-out bad driver, I could probably be classified as your ‘average motorist’ who’s seen years pass since taking a driving exam, and could probably benefit from one right about now.
This raises a whole new question about the foolishness of the once-in-a-lifetime driving test. In what other area can you prove your abilities as a teenager and be trusted that those abilities will not change… forever? Say you’re about 50 years of age. You feel like you’re a “pretty good” driver, and maybe you are. Barring any court-ordered “brush-ups,” if you got your permit at age 15, it’s been 35 years since you’ve had any kind of formal scrutiny to the driving prowess you had to prove in your youth.
Not many people would trust a doctor who hadn’t been evaluated in more than three decades. Or an interior decorator who still uses lead paint because “that’s the way I learned.” Why, then, such lax rules for drivers?
Of course, this is all but a rhetorical question, and I don’t see the ‘system’ changing anytime soon. But it is something to think about on your ride home, to the store, or wherever your travels take you. While you — as the “pretty good” driver you are — exercise extreme caution to avoid the other ‘maniacs’ on the road, just realize they’re doing the very same thing to avoid you.
by Paymon West | Assistant Editor | Gaseoustania Tonight