I'm OK and You Are Not OK

Road RageWe were exposed to many ideas during training at the RCMP's Depot Division in Regina. A lecture that I do recall was presented by a pyschologist who taught us about transactional analysis. One of the life positions we learned about, I'm OK and you are not OK, seems to be common on our highways.

A person with that outlook is saying that I feel good about myself but I see others as damaged or less than [myself] and it is usually not healthy. Perhaps this mindset is one of the reasons that drivers disobey the traffic rules and fail to exercise courtesy to other road users. If we could move to the I'm OK, you are OK state not only would we be more healthy mentally, highway use would be a safer, more pleasant experience.

Communication between road users that leads to co-operation or sharing the road is an important skill that was not taught to me explicitly when I was first learning to drive. Today this concept takes up an entire chapter in ICBC's Learn to Drive Smart manual and is a key point during in car driving lessons. When all parties communicate fully, we can arrive at an accommodation rather than a confrontation or conflict.

Sometimes I find it difficult stay on track when I am presented with some particularly ill considered and selfish driving behaviour or I'm in a hurry. I find that it helps to remind myself that I am only lowering myself to their standard if I judge them to be not OK or start setting my own rules when it's convenient. I'm not always successful but I try. I hope you will too. Pass it on.

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You hit the nail on the head with this post and it is a very big frustration for me driving in the Vancouver area. Like you, I do try to take the high road and like you, I find it is difficult at times. How many of us have had people riding our tails as we do the speed limit, or even a respecatble few KMs over the speed limit, and have people react like we are some kind of an idiot as they finally get a chance to fly past us and show us how we are 'supposed' to drive.

It is interesting how this attitude varies from place to place and city to city. What makes people more courteous and less selfish in say, Halifax as opposed to Vancouver? True, if more people took the high road it may improve things but sadly I have a pretty pessimistic viewpoint of seeing any substantial improvement in our driving habits. Significant improvement will only be possible with a fundamental change in people's attitudes and the possibility of that happening city wide is almost nil. That being said, I’ll still try to take the high road and resist the urge to 'gesture' the good people of Vancouver in the hopes that it might pay it forward.

I visited this city a couple of weeks ago and wondered if I was in another dimension. Every driver stopped for pedestrians. I was completely amazed at the courtesy shown anyone in or near a crosswalk. That has never happened to me in BC! Unfortunately, it didn't extend to other cities in that state, but it does go to show that it is possible for road users to get along if both work together.