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Give rage a back seat while behind the wheel

Driving is one of those ‘rights’ to which Americans have become undeniably and irrevocably accustomed. If we can’t drive, and drive on our own terms, then there had better be a good reason.
We use our cars like our homes: eating in them, socializing in them and, in some cases, spending more time in them than in our own living rooms. We’ve gotten cars that are bigger and faster than the others on the road, using them as status symbols occasionally, more than just as a means for transportation.
That’s why it isn’t surprising that our country has become infected with drivers who have road rage. Stick enough people in a hurry, distracted by the hundreds of other things they could be doing rather than actually driving, and you’re bound to see the flaring of some tempers.
But is it worth it to follow through on your threats?
In Jeffersonville recently, Yolanda Parrish admitted to shooting Corydon resident Wesley Mosier at a traffic light. He was riding a motorcycle; she was in a SUV. We might never know exactly what caused their argument, or if the shot was fired in self-defense or simply out of anger, but in either case, the question must be asked: Why are we so angry with each other on the road?
It’s so easy to fall into the mindset of our vehicles as a microcosm, our own little worlds where we can listen to our favorite music, sit at our chosen angles, talk and snack as we please. It’s much too easy to forget that we’re hurling down the road at a speed faster than our bodies were designed to move on their own. We’re operating two-ton pieces of machinery; it isn’t to be taken lightly!
But we must stop taking every infraction made by a fellow driver as a personal insult that we must avenge. Personally, I’ve made as many mistakes as the next driver and maybe more. I’m not perfect. I haven’t merged at the speed of traffic, and I’ve gotten frustrated behind slow drivers and passed on a double yellow line. I’ve honked my horn and raised my fist ‘ or maybe even just one strategic finger ‘ at drivers I thought weren’t obeying the traffic laws as I saw fit. But that’s not the case anymore.
What if, just one of those times, I had offended someone who was at the end of their rope? Someone who had an anger-management problem? Someone who was looking for a fight and it got triggered by little old me? Could I have lost my life over it? Could I be proud of myself if I went out in a blaze of glory, championing the virtue of flashing my lights at someone whose headlights were on the ‘bright’ setting?
Instead of being so quick to jump on the horn, we should all try to think of the unfortunate and difficult lesson we’re being taught by Parrish and Mosier. Sometimes, there are going to be other people on the road. Sometimes those people may be driving slower than we are, driving faster than we are, or with less concentration on the road and more on their cell phones. Every little difference in vehicular style shouldn’t get us riled, and we shouldn’t give complete strangers the power to make us angry.
Instead, let’s just remember where we’re going. Maybe we’re headed home after a long day of work or we’re driving to see our families and friends. Let’s concentrate on following the traffic laws as best we can and getting to our destination. We should worry a little less about the distractions on the journey. We need to just keep driving.

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