An Open Letter to the Drivers Sharing the Road with Me on my Ride Home

Let’s start with the guy driving the faded red pickup truck, tires caked with mud, a skull wearing a german helmet adorning the back window, mariachi music blasting into the heavy traffic. You know who you are.

Thank you.

You went out of your way to make my journey home safer — not once, but twice, protecting me not only from yourself but from other assholes as well. The world needs more folks like you.

As for the minivan driver and the woman driving the beat-up sedan, I’d like to thank you as well. Also the woman who waved me through the four-way stop.

Toward the end of my ride I realized how out of shape I was when I started hallucinating. I could have sworn the guy who slowed down way before he needed to, specifically to give me a safe space to pass a moving van parked in the bike lane some distance ahead, and who leaned over to make eye contact with me and wave me ahead, a kind and courteous gentleman, was driving a big, shiny, new BMW.

But that’s just not possible, is it?

Still, hallucinations aside, it was a good ride home, and I’d like to thank all the courteous drivers out there who made it happen. I hope to see you all again soon.


5 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Drivers Sharing the Road with Me on my Ride Home

  1. Do you remember driver’s ed in LAHS? Remember those big driving simulators? Most importantly, do you remember the lesson on separating obstacles? I specifically remember (perhaps the only thing I remember) a lesson on slowing down/changing speed in order to encounter obstacles sequentially instead of simultaneously. Like slow down and encounter the on coming car, then, when it passes, swing out into their partially vacated lane to avoid the open driver’s door on the parked car on the right side. Or avoid taking on the bicyclist and on coming car simultaneously?

    Apparently that lesson was dispensed with at the same time the large driving simulators were. Everyday, either coming or going on my little slice of house-lined suburbia with a double yellow line running down the middle, drivers continually decide to take me and on-coming traffic simultaneously, splitting us when the space between is the most narrow, rather than tapping their brake (or even just pulling their foot off the gas).

    Really, nobody remembers that lesson from drivers’ ed?

    • I never completed Driver’s Ed in high school, my instruction was all in actual cars by actual drivers. But I do remember very clearly two things I was taught:

      1- Be aware of EVERYTHING, 360 around your vehicle, all the time.
      2- Don’t be an asshole.

      Sadly, they don’t seem to be teaching those things any longer, either.

      • Don’t be an asshole is definitely lost. But maybe someone will read my thank-you here, and — for a day or two at least — not be an asshole. In a world where even BMW drivers are courteous, we can all get along.

    • Mostly I remember that when you see a ball, slam on your braked immediately. But you’re right, taking even the simplest action to prevent hazards from compounding seems to be lost. Maybe modern cars put drivers in a trance that makes it mentally difficult to modify one’s course.

      Although I think we can see evidence of that same trait in other areas of life as well.

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