Confession time: Three weeks ago, I was that driver on your commute home.
I was the one that ran the red light, turning left into oncoming traffic to the total boggling of your mind. How could I be so stupid, you ask? Easy – I was pleading with a furious three-year-old Houdini not to let herself out of her car seat (again), while opening the kids’ fast-food meal I thought would distract her from her mission to free herself. (Let’s not make this about the fast food, shall we? One transgression at a time.)
“People should cut me some slack,” I told myself when I got out of harm’s way – and past the multiple offensive gestures that made it clear where other drivers thought I should be headed.
Then last week, perhaps you were that driver. I forgot my call to empathy, and honked as you cut me off on the Charleston exit heading west on highway 215 in Las Vegas.
Let’s face it: At some point, we’ll all be that driver. And if we’re not that driver, we’ll likely encounter one. According to the latest census data, the average commuter in America travels 25 minutes in each direction to work. That’s nearly an hour each day to decide how we’re going to handle how our actions impact others.
As Maya Angelou said, “Change the things you can, change your attitude about the things you can’t.” If we all drive down the road expecting others to compensate for the dramas going on in our backseats, we significantly reduce the likelihood of getting anywhere safely. But if we’re raging at the people who screw up – for whatever reason – we’re distracted drivers, too.
What keeps you calm on your commute? Send me your best suggestions. I’ll combine them with the prevailing wisdom from organizations like AAA, and give some tips.