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Driving Me To Think

At sixteen, Driver’s Ed was nothing more than sitting in a stark classroom, fluorescent lights glaring overhead as the instructor drummed into our heads the dangers of drinking and driving. While his words were effective, the class would have been more useful had it included hands-on learning like changing a tire on the side of the road at night in the rain.

Fast-forward a few years to Defensive Driving courses available to get a discount on

your car insurance or reduce points from your license. Sitting in yet another anonymous classroom or now conveniently at home online, while this class covers the repercussions of drinking and driving, it has changed with the times and spends more time on the dangers of texting and driving.

Both warnings are valid, but it’s Road Rage, that while covered, seems more dangerous, and lately, more prevalent.

Early one morning this summer, walking with my niece and nephew, a station wagon (who knew they still existed?) drove by. On instinct I put my arms out to shield the kids. The car passed and as it turned the corner, the female driver screamed out her window, “It would have been nice if you waved back!”

“Who are you?” I said, but she’d already driven away.

Then one Sunday my sister and I went for a 20-mile bike ride through quaint local towns on Cape Cod. As we neared a grassy airport offering bi-plane rides, some guy in an SUV yelled out his window, for no other reason than because he’d been forced to slow down to pass us, “Get on the sidewalk!”

This past weekend, while I was driving in Westchester, a truck came up close behind me flashing his lights and trying to pass. “Geez,” I thought, “what’s your hurry?” He soon passed me on a narrow stretch. “Jerk,” I thought. Then, just as I was thinking of some other choice words, he pulled into the fire station. And that’s when I saw it, his bumper sticker, the one showing he was a volunteer firefighter. All the anger I felt immediately flushed out of my system as I realized mixing anger and driving is more dangerous than any cocktail you can swallow.

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