Tag Archives: peace on the road

Try forgiveness, because it’s good for you

Yesterday’s Daily Word was Forgiveness, and that always reminds me what a wonderful relief it was to have finally, after lo those many crabby years, discovered The Rider Method. Oh, not the whole thing with the 8-Step Program and all, that took a little longer, but just the core truth, that my anger was making me miserable without improving that other bad driver a bit, so to forgive and forget his or her poor driving habits was a kindness to me. And I am always in favor of kindness to me! You too? I suspect that most of us like to be kind to ourselves, don’t we? Well, we can. And we should.

Anger is optional, not required, and we can all do ourselves a big favor by getting over it, or as the boss likes to say, FIDO: Forget It, Drive On.

Buddha's advice on anger

Who’s getting hurt when you’re angry? Right, it’s you. Is that what you want?

And here’s a fancier illustrated way of getting the point across, courtesy of The Buddha and photoshop:

And here’s another, slightly creepier perspective from Mark Twain, courtesy of goodreads:

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Oh sure, we might prefer it was this or that inconsiderate creep over in the other car getting burned, but they are not in our jurisdiction. And sometimes they’re not even inconsiderate, or creeps. Or all those other unpleasant names we’ve been calling them. Because when you think about it, we don’t really know what they’re thinking or why they’re driving like that, do we? We’re just making up our own story, and it’s making us mad! So why not make up a story that makes us laugh instead? Laughing is so much better for us, and a lot more fun too. Seriously, the Mayo Clinic says so. Would you like to review its health benefits?

Stress relief from laughter? Yes, no joke

And for the complete scoop on how to laugh more and rage less with The Rider Method, head on over to The Mission or The Book. Or both. We know it takes some practice and we’re here to help. In the meantime, here’s the abbreviated version: Life is short; the road is long. Lighten up!

And let there be peace on the road!

And rage less in 2011

Mother normally tries to avoid getting all preachy on you (OK, maybe a little nagging), but she started the week with a Daily Word on Monday that fits The Rider Method to a T, so hopes you won’t mind my sharing my favorite part with my cheery friends:

I interact with many people each day, from friends, family and co-workers to sales people, fellow drivers and passersby. While some relationships may not seem especially significant, they provide opportunities for me to positively impact the lives of others.

I might be the only one to show another person kindness or consideration today. A simple caring gesture or acknowledgment can bring light to their day. I choose my words carefully and let my connection with others be a blessing in their lives and mine. We all share this life experience together.

If you’d like to read the complete message, you can find it here:

Daily Word

And as John said: Let there be peace on the road. This means you!

May all your travels be salubrious, in 2011 and beyond!


The Zipper Merge: Let’s restore some sanity on the road.

If Jon Stewart says I’m right, and Tom Vanderbilt (the famous author of Traffic) apparently agrees (along with a professional traffic engineer who commented on his post), and CO and MNDOT say I’m right, and a nice blogger named Ed Koehler from Minnesota says I’m right, then I’m right. Right? Right!

OK, I know I covered all this at great length in the book, so let me say right up front that if you’ve got the message already (or have known for years because like many of us you learned to drive that way in the first place) and would rather skip this little review and just get on with your life, please feel free to do that, and you all have a nice day 🙂

But if you’re wondering what’s got the zipper merge bee in Mother’s bonnet again, or you’re just not convinced yet, or you haven’t the slightest clue what the heck I’m talking about, stick around, and I’ll be right back with a great show, I mean blog post.

What’s the Stewart connection? Two things. First, the Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear that’s coming up in Washington reminds me that in my experience (although, granted, it was quite some time ago), the DC area is one of those places where drivers’ Moms seem to have forgotten to teach them about taking turns, or maybe they failed to pay attention. Either way, it’s jamming up those lane closure merges, and who needs that? Especially when you’re from out of town and in a big hurry to get to a very special rally. Nobody, that’s who.

Second, thinking about the zipper merge, which happens to be the right way to merge at a congested lane closure, reminds me that Jon Stewart had some words of wisdom on that very topic during a chat with Drew Barrymore not too long ago. Normally, this is where I’d share the video clip, but I’m afraid that some parts are a little too, shall we say, adult for Mother’s wholesome, cheery audience. Or for Mother anyway. So instead I will simply quote the zipper merge portion, which was the highlight of the interview anyway, in my opinion. Here’s what Jon had to say:

Are you an every other car merger, because to me…To me, the hallmark of civilization, and I believe this on its core foundational level, is the every other car merge at tunnels. There is, it’s a, (guest interrupts) no, when you get up to that and there’s like four cars and it goes down to one, and everybody suddenly no matter what, Jew, Muslim, gay, straight, black, white, it doesn’t matter. Everybody just goes I’m next, now you’re next, and it’s like the zipper merge, And it really says to me, this is why we don’t drink the same water we bleep in any more, because we are a civilized society. That’s my theory. (great applause from the audience)

And not only is it civilized, but it’s practical, because in heavy traffic, using both (or all) lanes for as long as you can, then alternating one by one (sort of like a zipper!), is the best way to share the road and keep traffic flowing. Now isn’t that easier and more pleasant than a scenario (we’ve all been there, haven’t we?) that looks like this …

Merging early creates a long line of cars with drivers who are becoming increasingly irritated if not enraged about sitting there, especially when they’re (and they usually are) watching the occasional zipper fan drive by in the nearly empty lane next door. And then there are the few folks who are doing the driving by feeling guilty, never mind absorbing plenty of wicked hate vibes from their neighbors in the next lane, for simply doing the reasonable thing, which is driving in a perfectly good open lane. And finally, we have the occasional extra-irate busybodies who make things worse by blocking the open lane out of a possibly well-intentioned but misguided notion that it’s their job to be road monitors. Is this ugly situation fair to anyone? NO! Can this problem be solved? YES! In some areas they’re posting signs with instructions now, and Mother appreciates that, but once we know the trick, we can do the right thing without being told, now can’t we? Well, sure we can.

So when traffic is light, then go on and merge early because that works just fine. But when the highway is crowded, remember to use those lanes. Then take turns. And let there be peace on the road; it’s the reasonable way to drive.

PS Want to check out my sources? There are geekier ones, but these are my favorites:

Zipper Method Traffic Merging Comprehension Issues, The Deets, Ed KoehlerThe Zipper Merge and Civil Society, How We Drive blog, Tom Vanderbilt
(especially the comments, the post itself is the JS quote)


Mother discovered a brilliant idea: Drivetime Yoga

Hey, look what I found!

Well, it would be more truthful (and I am) to say that it found me, or to be slightly more accurate, the smart lady who created it found me. Thanks, Elaine!

Drivetime yoga offers a cure for stress, strain and general crankiness on the road:

I just sent in my order yesterday, so stay tuned for my full report after it arrives, but I can see already by looking at the generous free download that this is going to be a winner. Check it out!

Drivetime Yoga

Traffic news around the world

Let’s start with the bad news. Well, bad news if you’re driving a truck on the Beijing-Tibet highway. If like most of us you’re not, and you were looking for a reason to count your blessings today, this would be a good one. It’s taking these poor guys over a week to go 60 miles, sometimes making less than a third of a mile in a day. I read about this in the Wall Street Journal, and would include a link to the article and photos, but the WSJ is getting grubby about sharing their stuff online. Too bad. Lucky for us, the Christian Science Monitor is much more generous. Check out the amazing photos: China’s huge traffic jam, as well as a full report that notes the jam seems to have mysteriously disappeared (China traffic jam vanishes overnight?), just like they do here in the USA. Except that here it doesn’t usually take a week, or even overnight. Sometimes we even get home in time for a late dinner. Does that make you feel any better about the hour or two here and there you spend sitting in traffic? I didn’t think so.

But we can cheer up! Because world traffic news is not all bad. A delightful group in England, called FiT (for filter in turn) is promoting the notion (and with good reason, apparently) that traffic lights (which their spokesman compares to multi-colored acne) are entirely more trouble, congestion-wise, than they’re worth, safety-wise. And they have good evidence in the form of towns in Sweden and England where the lights have been eliminated with great success. It’s all based on the concept that without all the useless and irritating interference of traffic controls, most drivers are naturally quite courteous and cooperative. And safe. As are the pedestrians and bicyclists around them. That they can and do figure out how to take turns and move along nicely. Are you thinking this too good to be true? That my Pollyanna side is making up a charming little fairy story? No, seriously, here’s the YouTube video to prove it:

And here’s the one about Portishead, the town in England where the traffic-light free trial went so well that they decided to made it permanent:

Maybe we should give it a try over here? I think it’s a lovely idea, don’t you?