In another thread, wild animals wrote:
Similar thoughts have occurred to me. Yesterday I drove to work and to a local shopping mall at lunch (lotta points there, I know), and really paid attention to my "driving mindset." Here's what I think drivers--or me, anyway--have on their minds:Originally Posted by wild animals
1. Other cars. They're fast and heavy and dangerous, and they far outnumber other moving things on the streets.
2. Signs, signals, lane paint. Don't want to be unsafe, unpredictable, or illegal.
3. Surprises, including peds and bikes. The interesting thing here is that I noticed a distinct twinge of irritation a couple of times when peds and bikers did something that required me to react in some way.
In the case of the ped, he darted out across four lanes of traffic in the middle of the block, and although nobody was close enough to hit him (he did time it for the gap), I muttered a little %$# under my breath as I tapped the brakes just to be on the safe side.
In the case of the biker, he was weaving erratically on a chopper in the bike lane (what is it with choppers and weaving, anyway--is it lack of control because of apehanger bars, is it youthful exuberance--or am I just stereotyping here?). I had just merged into the right lane next to him, and I definitely felt irritated at his presence.
So I tried to analyze these two twinges of irritation, and I think they came down to a version of what wild animals said above: The extreme vulnerability of the biker and the ped meant I had to pay almost complete attention to them and their actions, which meant in turn that I had to relinquish a good bit of the attention I had been paying to other cars and to traffic directing devices. It's a kind of attention management overload, exacerbated by the knowledge that I could very easily be responsible for someone's death if I make even a small miscalculation.
Driving home, I passed a couple of bikers in the lane I use myself when I commute by bike. They were riding in a straight line, they seemed focused and responsible, and I passed them with hardly a second thought (other than regret that I wasn't on my bike).
Maybe responsible and aware biking is the best antidote for hostile cagerbrain.