A car stopped on the street in front of me yesterday. Then its hazard lights came on. I was so grateful, because then I knew what to expect and do! HALLELUJAH, THANK YOU!
Brake. Turn. Reverse. Hazard. High beam. Our cars are designed with signals to make our intentions and actions on the road efficiently and effectively communicable.
Car going straight goes before car turning at a stop sign. If both cars are going straight then the one on the right goes first. No changing lanes in an intersection. DO NOT ENTER AN INTERSECTION YOU CANNOT CLEAR. Our traffic laws are designed to make vehicular interactions uniform and safe.
And yet, much like passengers during air flight, drivers seem to disregard any and all conventions of safety and courtesy more and more every year. We disregard one another.
“Always make eye contact.”
The most important safety lesson I learned from the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 3-day in 2002 was to always make eye contact with drivers at intersections, before crossing the street. I had never thought discreetly about it before, and suddenly it made total sense; I adopted the practice immediately and fully.
20+ years later now, I see this as yet another practice in relationship (of course!). It’s not just about safety, though that is the primary goal, for both pedestrian and driver. Nobody wants an accident. When we make eye contact, we see each other and negotiate our interaction–our relationship–if only nonverbally and in a second or two.
All of these practices–using car signals, following traffic law, and acknowledging one another while out and about–connect us as fellow humans. By offering other drivers and pedestrians the courtesy of a signal, a gesture of invitation to cross, or God forbid a wave and a smile of gratitude when someone lets us pass or merge, we make the world a little less cold, a little more personal, and a lot better, one small and significant interaction at a time.
Imagine if we all treated one another like someone we care about while out on the road? Imagine if we all actually cared for one another, just because we are all here, fellow humans, doing our best to get through this crazy, chaotic life with a little more dignity and a little less suffering?
Imagine if we all used our readily available, efficient, direct, and effective communication tools to signal our intentions, needs, and caring for one another off the road, too?
Wow, what an amazing world this might be.
Driving and life will never be the same again. I have you and Thich Nhat Hanh as co-pilots at every traffic light and ODOMOBaaT. Thank you!
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Aaww, thank you, my friend. And WOW, to be compared to TNH, what an honor!
ODOMOBaaT indeed. 🙂 xo