2018-06-13 / Editorials

Martha Chalker

Hello….Patience - Part one

When we look around and make observations every day and we all do, I wonder how different people deal with carelessness, ignorance and downright stupidity. Roy Chalker suggested I write about patience because evidently I don’t have it, especially when it comes to dealing with other drivers. When I’m on the road I follow the “rules” which means drive in the left lane when you are passing the slower drivers on the right. When you are not passing, get back in the right lane. Everybody knows that, right? Well obviously not! Inevitably some “idiot” (sorry) will block traffic holding everyone behind him up until everyone has to pass on the right. Often this person will finally “get” what is going on and eventually eases back over themselves. Likely, this person was talking on the phone or worse, texting. And to make everything even more alarming, there is often that maniac passing crazily and pointing a select finger and yelling which I think puts all of us in danger. (I am not that person).

My car is equipped with a toggle button which allows me to raise the back shade in the rear window if I find myself with bright glaring sun streaming in from behind, very annoying! For years, I’ve contemplated recreating this concept to automatically raise a message on either driver or passenger side of the car “whichever is needed at the time” largely displaying, I’M ON CRUISE!!! The driver who deserves this message often passes going one speed just to slow down and pull in front of you to answer the phone. As soon as the call is over, it’s back to passing again. This may continue for miles, sometimes all the way to Atlanta or Columbia just to name a few recent personal destinations. DRIVES ME CRAZY!

And while I’m complaining about people who don’t know or don’t care how to drive properly, let me include those guys who quickly pull out if front of you just to slow down and make a turn right down the road. Sometimes they practically stop before they get out of the way. And who is this person weaving over the line and off the road causing you to question whether you can get by them safely? What’s up with that? Are they doing it on purpose? Are they trying to irritate someone? Who in the heck teaches these people how to drive? GET OFF YOUR PHONE!

Speaking of teachers, my dad taught me all about cruising on the interstates at a safe speed, driving on the muddiest of country roads, showing other drivers respect and practicing defensive driving. My lessons in driving also included gradually coming to a stop when approaching a stop sign, a traffic light or pulling into a parking place. So I must add that my patience with someone who rushes up to either of these and slams on breaks would prove Roy Chalker correct. If I ever have to “put on breaks” when I am the passenger, the driver may have to hear my exclamations. There are those I think try to pull this stunt on their passengers just to get a reaction (waiting until the last minute to slam on breaks behind another stopped vehicle is included). I’m not alone with these experiences, am I? I can also hear my dad clearly say “Never jerk the car back if you do run off the road! Gradually ease back onto the road as you take your foot of the gas”. I passed this advice on to my children and it’s probably saved us all at one time or another.

I’ve learned there are just some drivers I cannot ride with without playing word games and keeping myself distracted. I no longer care if the current driver gets stuck in a lane when she’s not studying traffic both ahead and behind her. I no longer care if the current driver receives a ticket because he did not see the reduced speed ahead sign. I will practice patience when I am riding with you. Sort of!

Practicing patience is something I’ve helped clients with for years, but when applying these suggestions for my own use I have to say it’s easier said than done. Practicing patience with less than perfect drivers for me has been a work in progress for years. But let’s face it. Distracted driving has always contributed to more accidents, loss of time due to accident reports, more personal injuries and more fatalities. Focusing and paying attention while driving can be the difference between life and death and coming home to family or not. So get off the phone, stop texting and wear your seatbelt. So Roy is correct, I have no patience with these driving behaviors. I do, however, practice constraint by not being the yelling, finger pointing maniac adding to the danger,.

Listen to our local law enforcement officials, who are striving to do everything in their power to help our community become a safer place to drive.

Martha Chalker is a life & business coach with more than 20 years experience. She can be reached at 706-564-4458

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