It’s hardly a secret that I hate commuting. It’s not the driving that bothers me, I love to drive. It’s the people on the road that we’re all forced to contend with that just make my blood boil. The van going 30mph in a 45 zone, the jerk in a truck that thinks we’re having a race, the idiot on their cell phone who can’t maintain their lane, and the thoughtless person driving the sedan who doesn’t turn their brights off for anyone are all members of a cast of characters I encounter nearly every day. When I drive to work solo while my husband works overtime or teleworks, I usually let loose with a string of profanity and middle fingers. Too many people drive as if they got their license out of a cereal box.
Today was another solo driving day for me, as my husband is working overtime so we’ll have a bit of extra spending money for our mini-vacation in Chicago next month. I dropped off my boy at school and set off to work. I was barely down the road when the car in front of me starting braking and swerving wildly. When they finally changed lanes, I discovered the reason for their erratic behavior. A moped was cruising along in front of him at a solid 25mph. The man, who we see quite often on our drive to work, was bundled up as usual and slowly making his way down the busy road. I’ve seen cars get right up on his bumper out of frustration, cars cut him off way too closely when passing, and drivers overall just treating him as a horrible annoyance rather than a human being trying to get from point A to B.
I’m assuming moped guy is on his way to work; when we see him it’s always early in the morning and always headed in the same direction. He always moves as far to the right as he safely can so cars can pass and he never drives carelessly or dangerously. He will be out in the bitter cold; the freezing rain, hail, or snow. I don’t know if he has a love of slow speeds and poor driving conditions or if he simply cannot afford a car, but I have a feeling that his moped is his only form of transportation and he’s simply making the best of it. This morning, as I passed by him on my way to work, I watched in my rear view mirror as yet another car flew up behind him in frustration and I felt a little guilty.
Like many drivers, I like to complain about everyone else on the road from the safe enclosure of my vehicle. I get irritated at bikers and pedestrians who slow me down and annoyed at mopeds who get in my way on the drive to work. I fail to stop and think about people like this guy I see often, who is simply trying to do the same thing I’m doing five days a week. He’s not trying to ruin anyone’s day or slow anyone down. He’s not out to get anyone and isn’t purposely driving slow to annoy other drivers. Yet we get angry and expect him to buy a “real” car or just get the hell out of our way. We don’t care about his safety because we’re too concerned with making good time to whatever destination is in our future.
We often see bumper stickers and service announcements warning us to be wary of motorcycles on the roadways, but we fail to think about the moped crowd who is doing the best they can with what they have and just trying to get on with their day. Sure, there are horrible drivers on mopeds, but there are also horrible drivers inside every vehicle out there. It’s unfair for us to treat the guy on the moped the same way we would treat an annoying housefly. We have no right to jeopardize his safety just because he slowed us down for 30 seconds during our commute. For every courteous driver the guy on the moped encounters, he likely sees twice as many rude idiots who just want him to get the hell out of the way. It’s not enough to drive safely, we have to drive courteously as well. I can’t change the way people act, but I can at least take pride in knowing I wasn’t one of the morons on the road that nearly gave that guy a heart attack this morning.