Is it just me, or is driving getting less and less fun? Changing lanes when no one will let you over, people running red lights left and right, and driving on the highway with the red Mustang on your butt because he wants to drive 90mph while you’re only going 10 over the speed limit. The other day, someone actually tried to run me off the road like they do in Fast and the Furious (and I thought it only happened in movies psh). It seems like everyone is always in a rush these days. No one stops to let his neighbor over, and even when we leave 20 minutes early, we feel a need to rush and get back, only to wait another 20 minutes at our destination.
But what would happen if the whole world just slowed down? Well, lots of things would be much better. And yes, driving is one of them.
1. Far less speeding tickets
Does it really make a difference if you go the speed limit or 80 mph (reckless driving in Virginia). Let’s look at this from a mathematical perspective. The distance from Washington D.C to Richmond is 108 miles (about 2 hours), 90 miles of which are on I95. Let’s say the average speed limit on I95 is 68mph. Since,
Distance= Rate x Time
The difference between going 68mph:
90miles= 68mph x Time
Time= 1.32 Hours or 1 hour and 19 minutes
And 80 mph:
90miles= 80mph x Time
Time= 1.125Hours or 1 hour and 7 minutes
is only 11 minutes. Over the course of 2 hours, does 11 minutes actually make a difference? And think about it this way, if you get pulled over, the amount of time you spend on the side of the road, in court, working to pay the lawyer and court fees far exceeds 11 minutes.
Sure, in the grand scheme of things driving tickets don’t seem so world changing. But we all know what happens because of aggressive driving. According to the NHSTA,
approximately 6,800,000 crashes occur in the United States each year; a substantial number are estimated to be caused by aggressive driving.
Plus, research has found that aggressive drivers are more likely to drive drunk.
So next time you’re on the road, slow down and stay calm. You’re not helping yourself any by speeding and driving aggressively.
2. A Healthier Population
Having worked in health care for the majority of my teenage and adult life, there is a reoccurring pattern I’ve noticed. Doctors are spending less and less time with patients in an effort to see as many patients as possible. I first noticed this when it happened to me in high school. For one year I had a chronic cough. I saw several doctors, all of which prescribed me antibiotics, and nothing changed until I saw one doctor (my current one) who told me its not a bacterial infection; I have asthma. The difference between her and the other doctors? She spent 30 minutes with me while all the other doctors spent 10 minutes or less. Not that I have any first hand experience with this, but it makes me think how often has something like this happened in the ER? Or on the operating table?
Doctors aside, how often do you feel like you’ve gotten sick because you were in a rush and didn’t wash your hands or grab a tissue? I can’t think of a time I’ve been sick and it could have been avoided if I or someone wasn’t in a rush. This is why the virus this year was so bad. If people just slowed down and took care of themselves instead of always rushing from one place to the next and spreading their germs along the way or picking up someone else’s, the epidemic wouldn’t have been so bad.
3. Less conflict
It’s human nature, we’ve all done it, and it always leads to more problems that we could have avoided: acting on emotion. So much of conflict in life happens when we don’t take a moment to take a deep breath. You see it on the soccer field all the time. A player gets angry, he kicks the ball, kicks a player, gets a red card, then spits in the referees face. If that player took a deep breath, he probably wouldn’t now be banned from soccer for a while. So often in life we are conflicted by our emotions and we want to act on them. Think about your last fight with your friend/boyfriend/family member. If you had taken a day to calm down and think about it again, would you still have had that fight?
Now think about this: if we applied this same logic to the world, how much conflict could we have stopped?
Hitler invaded France to seek revenge for Germany’s defeat in World War I. From there, a chain of events led to World War II. But, I think few would disagree that Hitler was one dude that really needed to calm down.
The Pig War was an argument over a slaughtered swine which led to a full-scale conflict between the United States and Great Britain.
The War of the Stray Dog started between Bulgaria and Greece when a Greek soldier was shot after allegedly crossing the border into Bulgaria while chasing after his runaway dog.
And we can’t ignore the emotion of greed, which has led to so much conflict including the French and Indian war and India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir.
I’m not saying I hold the key to world peace. But I do believe a large amount of conflicts and issues can be resolved by everyone just slowing down.
We as a society need to slow down, calm down, put our tops down, and breathe. Life is so short, if we rush through moments it’s like cramming for an exam. You get to the test at the end and you don’t really remember anything.
It’s all just a blur.