I know my title sounds a bit harsh, but I have given this subject quite a bit of thought over the past week and finding a more “appropriate” set of words to string together wouldn’t get the point across. Yes, I believe that anyone who is the butt of jokes about bad driving automatically falls into the category of being not only an asshole, but also inconsiderate.
We’ve all had a friend or family member who we casually laugh about because they brake at the last second, have abnormally high car insurance due to all of the collisions they have caused, or based upon a new dent showing up on their vehicle every week. The question is, should we really be laughing? The answer is: “no”.
I’m not on some soapbox right now, because I have made the same jokes about people I know in the past and thought nothing of it until I realized that bad drivers actually injure and kill good drivers. I’m a regular at a restaurant near my house and was eating dinner when one of the hostesses was talking to me and said she was soon to be seventeen and “had” to get her license. When I asked her why she didn’t have it yet, she said:
“I don’t think I’m ready. I haven’t driven very much.”
Apparently, her mother had told her she needed to get her license because she didn’t want to taxi her other (younger) daughter around anymore. When I asked the girl if she thought she was a good driver, she said “no” but made mention that she didn’t have a choice. I hope I’m wrong, but it seems like she is being set up to be one of those “Haha, she sucks at driving.” jokes.
America has a massive driving culture and as a result, when I was a teenager there was nothing else I wanted more than to drive a car on the road. On the flip side of this, I also understand there are people who don’t take driving as seriously as I did, develop personal logic at different times, and also come into a sense of maturity and responsibility a little later than others. If someone doesn’t care about driving and they are either forced into it or feel obligated to do so, they usually (in my opinion) end up being bad drivers. One small example is people who park like this and don’t take the time to correct it:
I actually heard this woman get out of her car and say to her friend:
“If I try to fix it, I will probably make it worse.”
Why, though, do I say that the people who are the center of bad driving jokes are assholes? Because when we make jokes about their horrible driving habits, they accept that as a misguided flaw and tend to live with it as a characteristic instead of trying to improve on said fault. The more we joke about the fact that they run into inanimate objects, bump into other cars, run stop signs, neglect maintenance on their vehicle, obtain numerous moving violations, the more they say:
“Well, that’s just who I am. I am not a good driver.”
However, if you think about this whole issue logically and in a way which is applicable to their professional or personal life, it hits a little closer to home. Meaning, if you don’t perform well at your job because you refuse to grow your skill set and do better all around, you will get fired or demoted - quickly. If you contract an illness and decide you don’t feel like treating it properly, your condition will probably worsen or you’ll pass it onto someone else. But if you are reckless and neglectful when it comes to driving? You probably won’t get caught by law enforcement very often, but even if you do, you can usually wiggle your way out of most serious consequences this side of vehicular manslaughter if you open your wallet a little.
The older I get, the more I figure out that your life is much better and fulfilling if you allow yourself to grow and continually try to improve yourself as well as your habits. I know that most of the world claims to do just that but don’t tend to actually put forth the effort because settling in is the much easier option. Just remember that every time you reinforce the bad driver stereotype on someone, the more it hinders them from believing it to be a trait they can overcome. The more they hear it, the more they accept it, the more they ignore the people around them who are also driving, and the more they just look like (are) an asshole to everyone else on the road. Actually, if I’m honest, being the person who laughs at a situation where someone is driving a vehicle down the road questionably on a daily basis and could potentially kill an innocent person makes you an asshole as well.
Don’t be that person, and don’t let anyone you know think that their driving skills are anything to joke about. Take some time to help them improve their skills instead. You could save my life or your own from their negligence.
Grace and Peace,