`Practice peace' on the road

TRAFFIC TALK

December 25, 2005|By JODY K. VILSCHICK

Last week, I asked for your New Year's resolutions. Most of the resolutions I received were much more selfless than mine: I've resolved to slow down - again - to avoid a repeat of the speeding ticket I received in February.

Jeff Gardner also acknowledged having an ulterior motive: high gas prices, which have changed the way he drives. "I have slowed down and stayed within 5 mph of the speed limit," he said. "I guess I should resolve to be more patient while I am driving. Try not to let the ill-advised moves of others bother me. And to give myself more time to get where I am going."

Bonnie Dorr put her resolution most simply: "Try not to be in such a hurry."

Paul Henry, who noted that courtesy on the road is a thing of the past, committed himself to trying "to be more patient and tolerant to those drivers that obviously think their time is more important than their fellow drivers'."

But some, including Bixby Carruthers, took a different approach. He resolved to "stifle the desire to scream until my head explodes" in a variety of situations, including:

"[When] I have encountered yet another person around here who chooses NOT to use driving tools such as turn blinkers to indicate lane changes.

"[When] I am assaulted at just about every intersection by panhandlers, church functionaries or schoolchildren looking for handouts.

"[When] I pull up to a stop sign at the same time as someone else who absolutely refuses to either exercise their right of way or believe you when you wave them through.

"[When] I'm regularly forced to share the already crowded roads with Lance Armstrong and marathon runner wannabes who insist on using the same venue for their hobbies as commuters.

"[When] I see so many folks driving vehicles that are clearly too much for them: Just because you have the [money] it is not mandatory that you drive a `tank'!"

And from Dennis Johnson, comes an uplifting resolution.

Mr. Johnson's resolution is a two-word injunction to himself: "Practice peace," he said, adding, "There is no benefit associated with getting all hot and bothered when other drivers do not behave as I want them to. We're all in it together!"

He reached this conclusion when, "in a rare moment of clear thinking" he realized no one is the "emperor of the driving universe." He noted that he made, and began practicing, his resolution several weeks ago, when he realized it is a waste of his energy to get angry about things he cannot control. He also realized that "in the worst case, if I try to act on my feelings, I run the very real risk of hurting myself or others, which is unconscionable," he said.

"These days, when I get in the car, I take a deep breath before I put the car in gear, and I give myself a few seconds to think about what `practicing peace' might mean during the drive I'm about to begin," he said.

He pointed out that at Christmastime, it is common to see and hear the phrase, "Peace on earth."

"A good place to start making it a reality is on the roads and in our cars," he said.

And there is no better way to end the column on this Christmas Day than with a message of peace on earth and goodwill to all drivers. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa! May your holidays be safe, on the roads and in your homes.

What is your driving New Year's Resolution? Contact Jody K. Vilschick at TrafficTalk@comcast.net, send faxes to 410-715-2816 or mail letters to Traffic Talk, The Sun in Howard County, 30 Corporate Center, 10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 820, Columbia, 21044. Include your full name and contact information or your comments will not be published or receive a response.

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