I had a family emergency this week and I had to hop on a plane to Calgary.
Driving in rush hour traffic takes on a whole new meaning when you are in a strange car, driving on unfamiliar roads and under a bit of stress. Since the last time I was in Calgary, roads have changed and whole new intersections have popped up. I am looking for signs to point me in a familiar direction and attempt to merge into traffic onto a busy street, but at the same time, I am worried about my grandfather and feeling a bit overwhelmed.
I pay attention as I signal my way into the lane. Horns honk and cars fly by giving me dirty looks. I cringe, but only slightly because I am confident that I didn’t do anything wrong. I am not pointing fingers at Calgary drivers – this happens everywhere!
We have all been in this situation, all over Canada, in big cities and small towns. At some point in our driving lives, we have had some other driver get upset with us for nothing; give us the finger, yell and do their best to take out all of their frustration on us.
But let’s stop and look at ourselves, too. I can say that I am not so innocent. I have had bad days where someone has cut in front of me or is driving too slow and I can just feel my frustration boil up inside. If I had to drive in busy traffic day after day, I think my patience would be thinner.
Why do we act this way? I understand getting pissed when someone cuts you off and doesn’t signal, but do we have to turn into the Spawn of Satan? And come on, we have all made mistakes while driving – so why can’t we be more forgiving of others?
ICBC, or Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, has a program running right now called “Share a wave” and by participating, you can win a 2012 Fiat 500. The tag line “Lose the attitude. Gain the gratitude” explains the basic idea behind the contest; if someone does something courteous on the road, wave! You then write in and share when you wave or when you receive a wave from another driver.
Check out the site www.icbcdrivesmart.ca and you might get inspired to be a bit more courteous yourself.
I made it to the hospital and my grandfather was doing much better. After a short visit I decided to head over to my mom’s house for dinner. As I was waiting to exit the parking lot at the hospital, a lady waved me in ahead of her and it made me smile.
It was such a simple thing, but after the day that I had had, that simple, courteous gesture made a world of difference.