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DRIVE LIKE A MAN…
Well…it’s Friday. The weekend is about to start and people will be traveling to and fro to their various weekend destinations. I myself was out driving around today…and it got me to thinking about what it means to Drive Like A Man.
This could be a touchy subject…I realize that. It’s amazing how many people get defensive when their driving skills are criticized, especially men.
Believe it or not, for some reason a lot of guys attach their driving prowess to their masculinity. So if some of the things I say in this episode activate you emotionally…well, you’ll just have to put your big boy pants on and get over it.
Look…I happen to be a professional driver. I’ve logged over a million miles as a commercial long haul driver and I’ve had a lot of other driving jobs from cement trucks to garbage trucks. I’ve had zero accidents that were my fault, and zero traffic infractions. This happens to be one topic that I am actually an expert at, so I encourage you to pay attention without getting emotional.
I often talk about the way we carry ourselves out in the world, to be mindful that we are the example of manhood for anyone who happens to be looking at us, right? Well, the same concept is true when we are driving…yet, for many people when they get in their cars they suddenly feel like they have put on a new identity, they become someone else. It’s like some people are putting on a giant suit of armor and are actually becoming the car they drive, instead of being the person who is operating it.
As a veteran of so many miles I could spend days just talking about all the horrible, unsafe drivers I have seen. The rude behavior, the flagrant lack of concern for other people…I’ve got tons of stories. I have also had the unfortunate experience of seeing way too many accidents, fatal and otherwise. Yes…I have seen dead bodies on the road and it isn’t pretty.
Sadly…men are around 3 times more likely to be involved in a driving mishap than women. So why is that? It’s not rocket science…obviously men tend to be less cautious, more aggressive, more likely to be driving drunk, and they drive faster. Not to mention all the incidents of distracted driving due to cell phone use.
I don’t think it’s entirely due to gender per se, the problem is really hormonal; men operate on testosterone…which can result in all the above behaviors but, that is not a valid excuse gentlemen.
Along with our testosterone we also have intellect…which allows us to do something that our counterparts in the animal kingdom cannot do…which is to intellectually override our hormonal tendencies.
OK, so what does it mean to drive like a man? Here is what I think…I think it means that you behave the same way behind the wheel as you do when you are on your feet around other people. You demonstrate courtesy, be confident without being arrogant, you are always vigilant and aware of your surroundings, you act like someone that doesn’t have anything to prove. There is another name for it; Defensive driving…you know, as opposed to offensive driving. Don’t drive like you are on offense.
If you wouldn’t force your way between two people in the movie line, then why would you do that on the highway where you could wind up killing people?
Do you walk down the street screaming at the top of your lungs? Then why would you drive around with your windows down and your sound system rattling other cars windows?
When you are in public do you walk so close behind people they can feel you breath on their neck? Of course not…then why do you follow people so close on the road that if they touch their brakes you will wind up in their trunk?
If you are walking into a restaurant and you see a family also headed for the door do you start running to get in front of them? I hope not because that would be rude. So why is it OK to do the same thing in your car?
Guys…you have to remember that cars are big heavy things, they kill over 30,000 people a year in America alone. You may feel like your car is part of your personal identity…an extension of your personality, but the fact is your car is a dangerous tool that is used to get from place to place…you should treat it as a dangerous tool.
Nowadays a popular topic of conversation is gun safety and gun control…well I have an interesting statistic for you. These numbers are from 2013.
In 2013 guns killed 33,636 people in America. That includes homicides, suicides, and accidents.
In that same year automobiles killed 32,719…only 917 less deaths than from guns. So why aren’t people screaming about car control and car safety?
One huge difference in these statistics is that a lot of those gun deaths were intentional…while almost none of the car deaths were, which means…they were entirely preventable.
I have said before that being a man is primarily two things; a responsibility and an example. As men we have an obligation to be a force of protection and safety for those around us. That applies more than ever when you are behind the wheel…because the stakes are much higher. If you were to take out a family because your’e being a bonehead douchebag…how would you live with that? That would be the opposite of being a better man.
For those of you who are actually good, safe, courteous drivers…good job, I’m proud of you, you are a credit to your gender. As for the rest of you…and you know who you are, the next time you get behind the wheel try not to become that other person…instead be the guy who is listening to this podcast right now who wants to be a better man today than he was yesterday…driving like a true man is one way to do that.
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