Why Are So Many Drivers Rude -- or Worse?Hello All,
I believe I have a theory as to why drivers act they way they/(we) do when we climb behind the steering wheel of a car. Please note that this is not a scientific analysis; rather it is something I have thought about over the years of driving on America's roads.
My theory is this:
People drive their cars with the same lack of manners as displayed at home, behind closed doors ... in other words, "when (they think) no one outside the immediate family is looking."
If people are not driving, and we are in a social situation where "everyone is looking", we tend to display our so-called public manners. We seem to display a comparatively great quantity of altruism towards our fellow man or woman.
For example: If you happen to be in a supermarket's check-out line with a cart full of groceries, and someone comes up from behind holding only a loaf of bread or gallon of milk, it is customary for most people to at least volunteer to allow this person to go ahead of you. The person with only one item generally reacts most politely at your kind gesture.
Next: After we have paid for our groceries, and are driving home, our attitude seems to change -- perhaps by not allowing someone to "cut in", or actually performing some "cutting off" another driver, ourselves. We have all experienced the hair-trigger desire to "flip the bird" or yell obscenities -- almost at the drop of a hat!
Question: What is the difference between the above two scenarios (in line at the supermarket check-out line, and driving home on a public street)? My theory, once again, is that we trade our "public personae" for the way we "really behave" in front of family and loved ones, behind closed doors.
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Something terribly wrong happens when we envelope ourselves within the supposed security a 2-ton vehicle, and are capable of causing gross injury or even death to others; we are also capable of causing untold property damage -- acts that have the potential for putting us behind jail bars for years at a time!!
Perhaps it is that we perceive "the other driver" as having the potential of inflicting said damage on our lives and property. I also postulate that we seem to possess a "three second" grace period of time. If someone turns into our lane, and we have more than three seconds to react, then all is well.
If, however, someone turns into our lane, and we must take evasive action with less than three seconds' reaction time, we go ballistic.
Any thoughts on this theory?
Your opinions, comments and thoughts are encouraged.