Driving brings out the worst in people

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It’s been a tough week for those who drive in Kirkcaldy, with roadworks at one end of the Prom, and an absolute mess at the other end during resurfacing works.

We’ve seen cars queueing all the way out of town, courtesy of the roadworks at the junction near Bridge Street on the west side of town.

But coming the other way, with Bridge Street closed, drivers have been diverted from Pratt Street down to the Prom, which has its own problems and in some places is down to just one lane.

And as drivers look to join the bunched-up traffic flow along the Prom, those who are already in line often aren’t letting anyone in.

And put yourself in their position, why should they? If you’ve been stuck sitting in stationary traffic for ages and you suddenly get the chance to move at last, would you let someone in front of you, leaving you no further forward after all that waiting?

I’ll bet you silently told yourself you’d do the kind thing there, but since you’re (hopefully) not reading this while behind the wheel, you might find that your actions may be different were you really in that position.

Most people you might meet walking along the street are generally decent people who would help anyone that needed it. But people often change when they get in the driver’s seat.

I can see why; driving is a skill, and we all take pride in our abilities to drive safely and efficiently. Often, our confidence in our own driving skills is absolute.

But then we get onto the road, there are other strangers behind the wheel, whose abilities we cannot vouch for. This brings with it a subtle warning – a little red light that comes on in the back of your mind, like an overly-alert state of awareness that’s always looking for danger at every turn. To an extent it can actually be healthy in that it helps you keep a lookout for any potential hazards.

So when a driver up ahead makes a sudden manouvre we don’t agree with, or the guy behind gets a bit too close for comfort; suddenly our own safety becomes the chief concern, meaning the needs of all others will seem a million miles from thought.

That’s why you cursed like a trooper at the slow-moving car in front doing 20mph on a 40mph road last week.

It’s the reason you swore out loud, accompanied with overly-dramatic hand gestures, when that guy pulled out in front of you at the roundabout the other day.

And it’s why you turned the air blue after someone parked in the space on the street outside your house.

We tend to forget our usual courtesy and understanding when the situation doesn’t go in our favour when we’re driving.

The old dear doing 20mph could be lost and looking for her turn-off street, the guy on the roundabout might be inexperienced and felt pressured by the traffic behind him, and that person in ‘your’ space has every right to park there too.

We often forget to put ourselves in the shoes of others to see they may not be so bad.

Having said that; the bloke with no kids in his car who nicked the last parent-and-child space at Morrisons on Saturday afternoon is scum!