Two Words...that could save your life!

By
Real Estate Agent with Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate 0396717

Road - Rage

I'm sitting in traffic about a quarter of a mile from the stop light at one of the busier intersections in Austin, Texas. Behind me cars stretch as far as I can see. I begin to feel the tension in my shoulders as my frustration starts to build. I am just about to shout (at no one in particular just out loud,) when I notice movement in the car next to me. I look closer and see a man pounding on his steering wheel and shouting. Next to him I see his companion. Her chin in her hand staring out the window and probably wishing she was somewhere else. At that very moment, I have an epiphany and decide from that moment on I would let people like him be upset for me in any frustrating driving situation. Whenever I was in traffic, I would be absolved from getting angry or frustrated by knowing that somewhere out there, there will be several people going off like a steam kettle. To this day, when stuck in traffic I almost always see someone carrying on in the same manor and these days it makes me laugh.

TrafficI read a recent interview with Tom Vanderbilt, a freelance writer and author of "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)," just published by Knopf. It's a well-researched 402-page book on the complicated and interesting relationship between people and the machines they drive  "at 88 feet per second (60 mph) or sit for hours in bumper-to-bumper-to-bumper traffic." Vanderbilt writes that driving is "the most dangerous thing most of us will ever do."  In the interview he makes some very interesting points.

He quotes a number of studies that prove without a doubt that we are not as skilled at driving as we have lead ourselves to believe.

  • Talking on a cell phone takes concentration, and Vanderbilt's book points out the many ways in which a driver becomes less attentive while on a call. Because of that split attention, he writes, "We become worse drivers and worse talkers."
  • "Accidents": The way we talk about traffic, Vanderbilt says, can make us think that driving a car isn't as dangerous a task as it can be. Consider the word "accident."
  • "We prefer the word ‘accident' because we all drive. When you hear about a plane crash, you don't hear ‘plane accident.' We wouldn't feel comfortable with that description because it would indicate someone throwing their hands up and saying, ‘Oh, accidents happen."
  • "This is the classic thing in traffic safety. You don't want to petrify people. But, on the other hand, you sort of do. ... Forty-three thousand people a year-that's just fatalities.
  • "There's so much associated with driving-romance and excitement. A survey by some Canadian people found that 50 percent of car commercials showed unsafe driving acts. What are they selling?" (The ultimate driving machine?)

For years, the state of Texas installed signs everywhere with just two words "Drive Friendly."  I think this simple message actually encouraged people (weather directly or subconsciously) to do just that. I wish Texas would bring them back because it might help. It is always irritating to be stuck in traffic, but the bizarre and aggressive nature of other drivers can also be maddening. For instance, I turn on the signal to change lanes and the person in the next lane (usually in one of those cars advertising its self as "the ultimate driving machine,") roars up to cut me off. Road side gawkers who slow to a crawl to look at anything at the side of the road from a clearing wreck to (in Austin at least) a man dressed in a pink thong pulling a wagon full of odd junk. Honking freaks, lying on the horn, if you don't move the instant the light turns green or just to express themselves at any given moment. You can fill in the blank with your own particular aggravation.Drive Friendly

Okay, I am going out on a limb here with some admittedly "half baked theories". Of all the things in the world that make me cranky, hunger is right up there in the top two or three. I think this also applies to the majority of people in the world today. Now, think about the fact that at least half of the population is on some type of diet. You see where I am going with this? Well, it makes sense that there are a lot of people on the road who are already on edge from self imposed hunger pangs that are just a snack away from losing it! I know I will catch flack for this but my other "prejudice" concerns the people who pilot the aforementioned "ultimate driving machines". Now don't take my word for this. Just start looking around and I feel certain that you will soon begin to notice many of the smaller versions of this car whipping in and out of traffic, turn signals apparently broken, barrelling down the road with no regard for others around them and generally "letting the ego take the wheel..." Okay, enough of that, you get my point!

As a real estate broker in Austin Texas I spend a great deal of time behind the wheel. I am one of those realtors who divide my time almost equally between representing listings and working with buyers. Over time, I developed a strategy to stay comfortable both physically and mentally while driving. I like driving a nice car that is as comfortable as possible and is also good for shuttling clients to various homes. I believe in a hands free phone system so I can talk and drive if the need arises. I utilize both an iPod as well as a subscription to Sirius radio for a wide variety of music choices. A word of warning: avoid choosing hard rock, punk, or speed metal when in traffic as this may increase the aggressive side of your driving nature. Always have a snack nearby to avoid the crankiness driven car tactics I mentioned earlier. Last but not least, give yourself ample time to get where you are going. If you are behind before you get in the car you are already inclined to drive like a bat out of hell. In no way am I preaching. I just hope we can all drive in harmony and save ourselves some emotional anguish and maybe even some lives.

As always, I remain yours in the social graces and will see you on the road.

 

Posted by

Russell Lewis Luxury Real Estate Broker Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Ronald Curtis 10/01/2008 11:44 AM
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Tags:
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Rainer
9,822
Mattie Lewis
Student at UofH Go Coogs! - Austin, TX

Okay, thank you again. It actually get's the message across in an even more humorous way! I still think this is one of your best posts but you might want to make them a tiny bit shorter!

Oct 02, 2008 12:05 AM #63
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Mattiegee...now everyone is an editor! Just kidding and thanks again for the compliment. I do need top abbreviate my posts because no one has the time to read something so long. I just get carried away and don't want to leave anything out!?!?! Have a great week!

Oct 02, 2008 01:38 AM #64
Rainer
10,184
Scott Harvey
Austin, TX

Russell, I still think this is a wonderful post and frankly I am happy to see that you edited the "birds" in such a creative and funny manner. Looking forward to your next post "in the rain"!

Oct 02, 2008 02:44 AM #65
Rainer
2,131
Mandy Andrews
Texas American Title Company - Austin, TX

Russell,

You must have observed David & I in the above scenario;0  Honestly, i will admit i have a bad rep. around the office for aggressive driving but when I have my family in the car i tone it done.  I really put the petal to the metal when you call me to come and receipt in a contract!!!  Thanks for reminding me that leaving 5 minutes earlier can save my/someone elses life.  GREAT BLOG RUSSELL!!!!!!

Mandy

Oct 02, 2008 04:16 AM #66
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

ScottI appreciate your compliments and as usual, it will be awhile before I have time to toss out something new, but I will...

Mandy Hmmm...remind me what model of car you drive? Thanks for checking in and yes, drive carefully with that beautiful child!

Oct 02, 2008 06:28 AM #67
Anonymous
Samantha

Wow! I wish the state of Texas would bring those signsback! I can remember when MoPac (Loop 1) in Austin was a good way to get north or south. Now it's jam packed all the time and people drive so aggressively without once considering the consequences or ever "Driving Friendly"!

Oct 03, 2008 05:50 AM #68
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Samantha I can remember when they open MoPac in 1975 or 1976 and there were hardly any people on that roadway for nearly a year!

Oct 03, 2008 06:46 AM #69
Anonymous
Erin

I read your newest post about referrals and thought I would check out your blog. This one is both serious and funny at the same time. I love that you posted the "bluebirds" in such an amusing way! Thanks and keep up the good work!

Oct 16, 2008 03:07 AM #70
Rainer
8,874
Jeannette Spinelli
Austin Portfolio Real Estate - Austin, TX

Russell this is one of the funniest articles you have ever written. The "blue birds" made me laugh out loud. Traffic is probably the most dangerous part of living in Austin so I am glad you wrote this but with some tongue in cheek humor.

Oct 16, 2008 07:50 AM #71
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Erin I admit that traffic is about the only thing in Austin that really bothers me and yes it is more dangerous these days...especially with the flocks of "birds" that are growing larger every day!!!

Oct 16, 2008 04:21 PM #72
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

JeannetteI missed your comment earlier! I was and still am frustrated with the traffic problems in Austin but found a somewhat humorous way to complain abut the situation! Thanks for dropping by!

Oct 17, 2008 02:48 AM #73
Rainmaker
95,663
Michael Sahlman
www.HomesForVIPs.com - Keller Williams Realty - Miami Beach, FL
e-PRO - Miami Beach Florida Luxury Homes

Russell, You make a very good point here about road rage and other things we do that greatly effect our ability to drive. I wish that they would outlaw using a cell phone in Florida..at least make it hands-free. The drivers are bad enough down here without alaw banning cell phone use. Thanks for your post. It is a good reminder of how we all need ot keep our emotions in check and be more aware of things we do while we drive. Take care.

Oct 20, 2008 03:41 PM #74
Rainmaker
250,999
Debi Boucher
Real Estate Showcase Photography - Woodland Park, CO
"Realtor Showcase" - Real Estate Photography/Virtual Tours

I especially like the point about our perception of the word "accident". Never quite thought of it that way before.

Debi

Oct 20, 2008 04:06 PM #75
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Michael Since Ichanged my attitude it's been a lot less stressful when driving and I always uses hands free phone (if I can hear it over the music I am enjoying at the same time)!!!

DebiI thought the same thing because it really is a point of perception and we are all responsible for our behavior when driving or otherwise! Thanks for your comment!

Oct 21, 2008 03:56 AM #76
Ambassador
987,087
Sharon Paxson
Arbor Real Estate - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate - Arbor Real Estate

Russell - I found this from your Christmas meme - and I love the post. How I missed it - I do not know. Great post you have written here - and when I see someone all bent out of shape driving, I just calmly continue about my business and stay away. It is pointless to get so upset - but unforuately people do! Great post!

Dec 04, 2008 10:11 AM #77
Rainer
9,822
Mattie Lewis
Student at UofH Go Coogs! - Austin, TX

Hey I clicked on the link to this post that was in your Christmas Meme and I still think it is one of your best! You know I still think the blue birds are such a funny touch!

Dec 04, 2008 12:40 PM #78
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Sharon I had some fun with this because we drive so much and I was tired of getting frustrated. It was good therapy writing it and it's also important to be comfortable which is why I want a nice ride!

Mattie I think that if I had followed your advice and used the "blue birds" when I first posted this it might have gotten a gold star! Thanks!

Dec 05, 2008 01:25 AM #79
Rainer
10,184
Scott Harvey
Austin, TX

I found this on your Christmas meme! Great job! And I am with Mattie, you should have used the bluebirds the first time this was posted, they are very funny!

Dec 07, 2008 11:20 AM #80
Rainer
10,184
Scott Harvey
Austin, TX

I found this on your Christmas meme! Great job! And I am with Mattie, you should have used the bluebirds the first time this was posted, they are very funny!

Dec 07, 2008 11:20 AM #81
Rainmaker
516,229
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Scott Thanks for visiting via my Christmas meme! I really had fun with this one!

Dec 08, 2008 03:31 AM #82
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