Road Sharing – The Art of Survival
Rush hour driving conditions may induce certain urges in drivers; the urge to hurt, maim, or kill your fellow road warriors, or possibly take you own life. Rarely will you encounter someone springing from their vehicle after enduring a lengthy stop-and-go, exhaust-choked, mind numbing ride, to say “Thank You!!! That was awesome!” There are several reasons that most of us find the drudgery of our daily commute almost intolerable, but far and away the most easily identifiable would be – other drivers. The practice of road sharing is quickly being lost in our world of me, me, me. However, it is getting to the point where a “me” attitude is almost necessary in order to survive the chaos that IS our network of roadways.
How it Should Work
Ideally – or in concept anyway – the roads we travel are a complicated system intersecting paths that rely on a certain amount of “courtesy” to achieve maximum efficiency. Merging, allowing entry, adjusting speeds, and every routine element of driving contributes to finely choreographed ballet of movement that allows for the steady flow of traffic along all routes of travel. At least that’s how it should work. Instead, there are brief moments of lucidity among drivers completely surrounded by extended bouts of recklessness, inattention, selfishness, and blind rage. Our roadways today have become a jungle where survival is not necessarily a matter of driving skill, but more the will to survive.
Put The Cell Phones Down
Arguably, one of the biggest changes in drivers is the obsessive need to stay “connected”. It’s as though we have come to a conclusion that the world as we know it will cease to exist if we fail to respond to a text message, or that our friends will no longer wish to associate with us because we failed to *like* their latest Facebook post. This mentality is probably the cause for more accidents today than drunk driving or sleep deprivation, yet surprisingly people still think that they have mastered the art of driving while not watching the road. If you don’t believe this notion, all you need to do is open your eyes (objectively of course) during your next rush hour excursion. You will see at least one person per mile using their phone while driving…guaranteed. We see it in Illinois all the time, which is ironic since hand-held cell phone use is illegal in the state. Put the cell phones down people. The rest of us want to live!
Set Your Pride Aside
There is this compulsion some drivers have to never allow anyone access to the space in front of them. You frequently see this at on-ramp merges, where existing highway traffic is reluctant to allow merging vehicles space to enter the flow of traffic. It also happens on busy residential streets when inconsiderate drivers will choke off access points to keep drivers from entering the roadway. Perhaps…in their mind…the “offending” driver feels that giving others the space in front of them will somehow cause them to be “pushed back” in line, thereby delaying their arrival to wherever it is they are going. This idea has been disproved over and over again, with studies showing that (typically) a courteous driver will arrive at his destination less than a minute later that his more self-centered counterpart.
Know Your Place
How many times have you encountered a driver dutifully observing the speed limit…in the farthest left lane of traffic? Unfortunately, the answer is probably TOO MANY. Still, those “moving blockades” like to point out that THEY are obeying the law, while you are obviously anxious to break it. Well played, but completely unsafe. Many law enforcement and insurance professionals have stated publicly that – while not condoning the fine art of speeding – keeping up with the flow of traffic is less hazardous than being the “slow poke” behind the wheel. It is important to know your place. The right lane is for slower moving vehicles and trucks, the left lane is for passing, and anything in between is no-mans land.
Welcome to Chicago. Let The Fun Begin
If you drive through Chicago once in your lifetime, you will never have to prove your bravery to anyone ever again. Keeping your eyes moving isn’t just important…its a requirement for your survival. One of the things we teach our chauffeurs at OML is that driving for a limo service in Chicago is like riding a roller coaster; you may enjoy it, but it will probably make you throw up. It’s good to employ a few defensive driving techniques to minimize your exposure to those crazies that threaten your existence. The best involve keeping space around your vehicle and separating yourself from potential threats. Drive with care…and let the fun begin!