L. Neil Smith's
Number 374, July 2, 2006

"The power elite don't give a damn about you"

How To Not Be An Aggressive Driver
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Do you honk?

Do you changes lanes?

Do you ever have visions of getting to where you're going while behind the wheel of a moving motor vehicle?

If so, you may be one of a growing number of aggressive drivers on America's highways and byways. Unlike AIDS, date rape, and other largely fabricated causes, aggressive driving is a real and growing epidemic in this nation. "In fact, nearly eight out of 10 motorists say aggressive drivers are a greater danger than terrorists," according to a public safety group known as the Smooth Operator Program.

As a public service to you, I am devoting my column this week to spreading the word on this rampaging woolly mammoth of a problem. Below you will find Smooth Operator's complete "How To Avoid Being An Aggressive Driver" tip sheet, along with some of the personal wisdom I've collected on this subject over the years.

Tip No. 1: Allow more travel time to get to your destination. It reduces stress dramatically.

Let's face it. You have all the time in the world. Thousands of years ago, men and women lived in nature, and there was no such thing as a calendar, and people didn't wear shields over their private parts. Then greedy corporations came along and devised evil schemes to enslave the human species. Those schemes bore interesting names like "time" and "clothing." Things have been terribly stressful ever since. Don't let these greasy corporate oppressors oppress you anymore. There's no reason why a slow, beautiful drive down to the corner deli should only take two minutes. Take it easy. And take off your clothes. You alone have the power to set yourself free.

Tip No. 2: Come to a full stop at red lights and stop signs. Never run yellow lights.

You would have to be stupid to run a red light. Most people know this. But most folks don't realize that running a yellow light can be pretty dangerous, too. In fact, even running a green light can be dangerous. Only a suicidal maniac would run a green light. Next time you're presented with this opportunity, take a deep breath and try to approach the situation rationally. Come to a full stop, look both ways, and make sure your hands are faithfully glued to their posts at two and ten o'clock. If the light changes before you start moving again, don't sweat it! There will be plenty of time to pass through the intersection when a fresh green appears after that yellow and red combination. Use this time to do something relaxing. Take a warm bath. Sew a sweater. Write a book. Or get your degree: Enroll in a Sally Struthers telecourse, and you can major in business management or accounting.

Tip No. 3: Let other drivers merge with you.

Two souls becoming one. It's the only reason any of us drive anywhere to begin with. Don't resist this transcendent act. Encourage it. Become like the Elliott to other drivers' E.T. Let them merge with you even when they don't want to.

Tip No. 4: Obey posted speed limits.

Speed limit signs are signs from God. He uses these signs to send important messages, such as: "Slow down, Karen. Forty-five's plenty fast enough here." And: "What's the rush, Bob? Where's the fire and brimstone?" The only way to get into Heaven is to obey the signs God has planted on our highways. That is the reason we use the expression, "Slow the Hell down."

Tip No. 5: Don't follow other drivers too closely.

One hundred percent of multi-car accidents occur when multiple cars hit each other. For this reason, you should never drive on top of other cars. In fact, if possible, don't use the same roads that other cars are using. Otherwise, always maintain a safe driving distance of at least twelve full car lengths for every one mile per hour that you're traveling. Also, be sure to separate your car from the others by covering yourself with a freshly washed bed sheet, with a hole cut out for the windshield.

Tip No. 6: Resist temptation to teach someone "a lesson."

The last time I tried to teach someone a lesson, someone else came along and taught me a lesson about teaching others lessons. Then another person came along and taught the person who taught me a lesson about teaching others lessons a lesson about teaching others lessons about teaching others lessons. Unless you want this to happen, resist the temptation to teach someone a lesson. On the roads.

Tip No. 7: Concentrate on driving—not on the stereo, cell phone, passengers or other distractions.

Your car is a car. It isn't a burger hop. Instead of engaging in conversations with friends or indulging in various different telecommunication devices, use this time as "alone time." Sit quietly and think about the people you've wronged throughout your life. Have you told them you're sorry? Have you tried to make amends? You would be surprised what a few hardened pieces of macaroni glued to a paper plate can do to restore order to someone's personal universe. What other fun, creative things can you do to show the people you love that you care?

Tip No. 8: Remember that you can't control traffic—but you can control yourself, your driving, and your emotions.

Maybe you can't control your driving. Maybe you're just plain incapable of steering heavy machinery. That's okay. The important thing is to keep your emotions in check. I used to break out in tears for no apparent reason while driving long distances. Next thing you knew, I was checking the mirror to see if I smeared my mascara. Then I realized I was a man, and I wasn't wearing mascara, and this only made me cry harder. All of a sudden, the car swerved, and I ran over a gibbon. This shouldn't have happened. They don't even have any gibbons in Pennsylvania. But that just goes to show the kind of damage you can do when your emotions get the best of you. Take a deep breath and count to 20. Hate is not an alternative fuel.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at jdm@readjdm.com.



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