As I've stated many times before in this column, our traffic ecosystem works best when we drive around others as we want others to drive around us. Driving with an all out "me" approach goes at direct odds with easing the city's gridlock. We have to cut each other breaks, drive defensively, and drive alert to avoid causing extra crashes and delays. Stopping in a passing lane to turn completely contradicts this philosophy.
Other behaviors of ours have laid the groundwork for inconsiderate driving. Walking slowly down, say, a sidewalk or a store aisle and texting slows the progress of others. Not being ready in a fast food line because of being on the phone is another selfish move. The proliferation of phone use goes hand-in-hand with “bubble behavior.” I am guilty of it.
In the very moment of replying to a text or Facebook comment, doing those things seems more important than being considerate. The reason social media and smartphones are so successful is at least partly because of the dopamine that digital social interaction produces. Prioritizing phone use above driving attentiveness is why the state enacted the new Hands-Free Georgia Act last July.
On a more macro level, we need to shake off the idea that what we want is always most important. The byproduct of that self-centeredness can be more than annoying and angering; it can be deadly.
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Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.