Earlier this week, actress Mae Whitman tweeted “god everyone is such a bad driver except for me.” Although this is meant to be a joke, there are many commutes where it feels like this statement is true.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like we’ve probably all had those days. Mornings when we are late for work, only to get stuck behind someone driving 10 miles per hour under the speed limit. Afternoons when drivers cut us off without so much as an acknowledgment. Road trips where there are several cars driving slow in the passing lane. Drives where we have to brake hard because the car in front of us decided to turn at the last minute without using their signal.

In those moments, it is tempting to lay on the horn, yell, or even succumb to road rage. But how would you react if it was your mom driving below the speed limit? Your boss who cut you off? Your closest neighbor in the passing lane? Your best friend who forgot to use his signal?

Chances are high that you would extend these people a little grace.

Instead of getting frustrated, you would probably assume that there was a reason for their behavior. Your best friend is a good person, so if he forgot to use his signal, it was probably just a quick moment of forgetfulness rather than a blatantly negative act. You might even chuckle at his forgetful antics.

When we have negative experiences with other drivers, these experiences often put a damper on our day, causing frustration that can ruin the rest of our commute and get our day off to a bad start. Imagine what would happen if we always pretended that the cars around us belonged to people we know. Not only would we be more understanding of poor driving, but we would also probably be less prone to poor driving behaviors ourselves. We would be less likely to give in to road rage, text and drive, or cut others off ourselves if we thought our friends and family were on the road with us.

Today as you drive home from work or school, try to imagine that everyone on the road is a friend, family member, or colleague. It may just lead to a safer and more peaceful afternoon.

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