19 October 2010

Drive Your Own Car

I can’t tell you how often in my life I have instructed other drivers in the error of their ways from the high and mighty vantage point of my car.   From turn signals to stop signs to speeding to not speeding, others rarely drove how I would wish them to do.  “Traffic would flow so much better,” I’d think, “if people would just drive with the greater good in mind rather than their own selfish interests of just getting someplace fast.”  Certainly it seemed to me that if the greater good were as I saw it then at least I’d get someplace faster. One super-power I really, really wanted was the ability to make all four tires go flat on any transgressor’s car – oh, not right there on the highway, but sometime later when it’s parked and the flat tires would simply be an unbelievably annoying karmic payback for cutting me off.

Suffice to say other drivers rarely heeded my unspoken but strongly thought and recommended instructions. This in turn led to endless frustration for yours truly until one day  while sitting in traffic, I realized in a flash of perhaps obvious insight that I can’t change any of those other drivers – most especially when I am behind the wheel of my car. I realized that I can only drive my car.  Inner peace ensued. Now whenever anyone cuts me off, zooms by me on an icy Colorado interstate or flips me off, my mantra is “Drive Your Own Car.” I still get a little angry but I find it goes away much quicker and  best of all, I don't have that guy tailgating my thoughts for the rest of my drive.

This would seem an obvious insight and yet the incidents of road rage we hear and read about, the frustrations I hear from co-workers after the long drive in, or the general consensus that everyone else is a lousy driver would appear to indicate otherwise.

Not just in the car, I am finding that this mantra applies to my entire life – anytime I am becoming angry with what someone else says, does or doesn’t do, their opinion or lack thereof or  when I feel my pride coming to the fore, I remind myself to “Drive My Own Car.”  Because that’s all we can ever really do isn’t it?

We can only live our lives and nothing makes life harder than trying to make others live up to our expectations or failing to live up to theirs - either way, it only disappoints us and makes them angry.

So drive your own car - I guarantee you'll be happier and, as a result, those around you will be too.

But would it kill you to use your turn signals?

Thanks for reading.

Richard Russeth


  1. A great post. We can only take care of ourselves; the rest of the world...well they are on their own. It really is a matter of pride. But I do agree with the turn signal thing.

  2. Thanks Richard. Very sage and mature advice which I'm sure will help to keep me a much more sane and civil person on the road.

    Although I do have one nagging thought that wasn't quite addressed: We can't control how others drive, but we CAN honk loudly and display familiar gestures with certain of our extremities in the unlikely chance of making the culpable party equally angry and frustrated. But that would, of course, be the silly, immature response.