toy car
 Could frank discussion eliminate some of the culture gaps in our driving?

It might be healthy to have a kind of mass airing of the sometimes-conflicting presumptions that underlie our various styles of driving.

For my part, I think it could be useful to have a chance to explain to the other guy that I’m not spitting on the graves of his ancestors, questioning his machismo or human worth, or challenging him to a duel to the death when I simply choose to maintain an appropriate speed in his presence.

Likewise, if he thinks he can provide compelling reasons why it’s important for him to stay ahead of other people when he’s chosen to go slower than them, hey, I’m willing to listen.

I don’t think any of that’s likely to happen, though.  Not even establishing the basic framework of the discussion.

Oddly, in any sort of face-to-face discussion, we’d probably be too low-key and restrained to get much of anything significant said.  If Person A doesn’t know Person B well, he’s going to be hesitant to launch into a full-on diatribe against pack-position drivers, because what if B is a pack-position driver?  (He wouldn’t want to offend him, after all.)

Curious, isn’t it, how we would show more courtesy toward one another while we’re just sitting around a room chatting, than when we’re all slinging around tons of steel at stunningly lethal velocities?

It’s perfectly in keeping with human psychology, though.

As a classic series of experiments demonstrated, people’s violence and aggression tend to increase with remoteness.  People who can’t be seen are the likeliest of all to inflict pain or trauma.

And when you think about it, while we’re ensconced in our mobile steel fortresses, we’re all essentially faceless.