Yesterday, I drove 60 miles in heavy rain. Most of that was on an interstate where the normal speed limit is 65. Of course, it’s fairly common on clear days to be passed by cars doing considerably above that even when I’m driving a little above the limit. Experiencing that kind of high-speed driving and the occasional intemperate switching from lane-to-lane from fellow travelers on very wet roads in a driving rain to me seems to be…inconsiderate. Maybe my age is showing, but I don’t think that’s it. I’ve felt this way since I began driving.
Now I do need to confess that a number of years ago I had an accident in a rainstorm. All of my family was in the car. Our three children were young, including our youngest who wasn’t quite two months old. On a curving on-ramp to I-295 in a heavy thunderstorm, I never thought much of the pool of water in the road. I wasn’t going fast, maybe 25mph. I lost control of the car as the tires lost contact with the road and the car hydroplaned and slammed into the concrete curb. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and there were no other cars in front of or behind us. The front tie-rods were broken making the car not drivable.
That night is strongly etched in my mind all these years later. You might say I’m a little sensitive which is why I think it’s so important to remember that we share the road and life with others. The simple graces hardly cost anything at all. Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ is not just for children. Letting people finish what they are saying without interrupting them to say what you want to say is about valuing their voice as much as you value your own. Demonstrating courtesy like holding a door or using a blinker when turning or changing lanes only involves a little wrist action. Exercising the patience so as to not tailgate others or weave in and out of traffic may require a little more restraint, but we all will be more likely to get where we’re headed with a lot less stress.
You might say this is not going to change anything and that people will continue to do these things. I disagree. If just one person adjusts some aspect of their life to offer simple grace to others, then that’s a change. And maybe, that one person may influence someone else to do the same.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2021. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.