Respect others and drive courteously [Letter]

November 23, 2013

Whether you are a devoted soccer mom taking your child to practice or a game, an anxious job-seeker looking for a place to park, a business executive running late for a meeting, a big rig trucker delivering fresh produce, or student heading to class or a tourist trying to find a museum or other local attraction, you, your vehicle and your trip are essential to the economy. What is more significant, whoever you are and wherever you are going, is that you are a person and much too important to be lumped into the demeaning and dehumanizing category of "traffic." That's a word used to describe us as impediments, instead of ordinary people trying to get from here to there, along with other fathers, mothers, co-workers, students, friends and relatives.

You and I, along with other ordinary people have the same deadlines, desires, frustrations, hopes and the same impatience about sharing the road with our impatient counterparts. New or old, luxury or limping, our vehicles are a part of our identity. We have the privacy to listen to music, smoke a cigarette, practice our singing, scratch, meditate or simply think. Your ride is your most "personal" respite in what may be an otherwise hectic, highly interactive environment. Enjoy the pause while other drivers fret. There is always a reason for delays — closures, accidents, injuries and tragic loss of life. Watch your driving neighbors, but don't emulate them. Drive carefully and be courteous. Relax. Smile. Yield right of way. Fuming doesn't help.

The horn is futile and benefits nothing. Patience does. Calm down.

We will all get there.

Whether in line at the grocery, the bank, post office or at a traffic light, our journey is no more important than the journey of the driver in front of, beside or behind you. We want to be on time — for the wedding, funeral, graduation, job interview, meeting, celebration or simply show up for work. Today, as we enter the roadway or the next time we turn on a "traffic report," think about other people in the cars, vans, and trucks. Their families, their dreams and their precious lives. Please. Don't think of other drivers as "traffic."

We are all humans doing the best we can. Please share the road.

Helen Dale, Baltimore

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