Tuesday, February 22, 2011


After ordering a meatlovers stuffed-crust pizza with extra cheese, cheesy bread with extra sauce, and a 2-litre Diet Coke, I decide to pick it up rather than wait for the delivery driver.

I was in a hurry to eat, so getting in the car, turning on the ignition, reversing out of the driveway, stepping on the gas pedal, turning the steering wheel, yielding to traffic, parking the car, and walking into the pizza shop was not too much to overcome. I wanted to finish dinner before the big game.

There are several of us out there, however, that cannot perform this simple task without being called for a technical foul, unsportsmanlike conduct, or receiving a yellow card for dangerous play.

Driving is as much a sport as any sport you can think of. As such, the act of driving is just as athletic as competing in any sport you can think of.

The problem is that a lot of us take for granted our driving skills. We get in our respective vehicles, comfortable in the driver’s seat, safe from outsiders (we control a thousand pound marvel of technology, one that can travel up to a 100 miles per hour, what are we afraid of?), ready to conquer the road. Heaven help the poor soul who gets in our way.

Some of us, as confident behind the wheel as Peyton Manning is in the pocket, multi-task while we’re navigating the streets. Phone call? No problem, I’ve been driving for years. I can take a simple phone call. Text message? I got it. I’ve been doing this for half my life. Food, cigarette, conversation? Sure, let’s engage. I can drive with my eyes closed, man.

This valiant attitude is fine. It is better than the alternative, which is millions of driver’s behind the wheel dodging oncoming traffic while feeling overwhelmed at the task of making that left turn onto the street with no median. We must drive with proper confidence.

However, there is a correct strategy to driving, and it does not involve catching the draft from the car in front of us while inching toward the far left lane in hopes of speeding by each and every car in sight.

This strategy is called defensive driving. If you’re faced with the decision of speeding up to change lanes, or slowing down to allow another car to merge into your lane, defensive driving suggests slowing down.

Our egos, though, get in the way. There is a transformation from regular person to King of the Highway the second we turn on the ignition. Our innate competitive juices start to flow the second someone wrongs us on the streets.

Unfortunately, there are no do overs with a driving accident. There’s no second down, overtime, or extra innings.

A bad driving accident results in life-changing physical injuries, if you’re lucky. Anyone on the open road is a potential target of a late hit, the likes of which cannot be corrected by 15 extra yards.

I believe that I am the best driver in my city, probably my state, and quite possibly the entire world. I amaze myself with the simple and subtle, yet invaluable, intricacies of safe and efficient driving which I exhibit on a daily basis. I can literally drive with my eyes closed, man.

I also amaze myself with some of my moves on the basketball court. I realize, however, that there are some players on the court that may not understand that you should not undercut someone while they’re in the air.

We should all realize, no matter how great of a driver we consider ourselves to be, that there are plenty of drivers who should not be allowed to touch a set of car keys.

The rest of you? You are that horrible driver to whom I am referring. Just know that we know that you’re out there. And please take the time to learn how to handle your boat on wheels, yield to oncoming traffic, use your blinkers, accelerate when you make that right turn rather than wait for us to get 100 yards of you before you decide to make that right turn, step on the gas when the light turns green, anticipate, stay aware of your surroundings, and play a little defense.

Sounds simple enough. You know we know you know how to do it. Just do it.

Because people may die if you don’t. It happens every day.

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