The act of driving can teach you a thing or two (actually several, as I found out) about life.
Your reactions and the decisions you make behind the wheel can often be replicated in the non-driving situations you face in life.
1. Staying calm is an art, especially when horns are bellowing around you and bus drivers are screeching past within centimeters of your vehicle. But if you can manage to BREATHE EASY while the world around you is dancing to chaotic tunes, you’ve got yourself a lesson well learnt.
2. There is also the neat skill required in WALKING THE THIN LINE between knowing when to let things be (like when the car behind you touches the bumper ever so slightly) and knowing when its alright to throw decorum out of the window and let the choicest abuses roll off your tongue (but all this while being aware that the latter reaction should be resorted to when all else fails and when you’re unlikely to ever meet the person/people you’re addressing in this manner).
3. It is to your benefit to know that people can’t always be trusted. A person indicating to turn left is just as likely to create hassles for others and instead turn right. The key is to realise that ANYTHING can happen and EVERYTHING is what you need to be prepared for.
4. If you always let others manoeuver their way to get in front of you, soon enough you’ll fall behind. So it’s quite alright to honk and move ahead to MAKE YOUR PRESENCE FELT and your stand crystal clear.
5. When you have a car breakdown, there will be those (very few) who stop to help and the majority who pass by thinking “I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me”. The idea is to be grateful for the former (and become like them) while ignoring the latter. And if nobody stops to help (or watch) you’ll have the When-I-managed-it-all-alone story to tell and be proud of.
6. Sitting in the co-driver seat can often be a nerve-wracking experience. But when you’re not in control its best to advise on things the driver can’t see and you can, while trusting the person to take care of everything else. Things usually run smoothly that way. After all it isn’t good sense to get anxious about things you can’t possibly control. So DO WHAT YOU CAN TO HELP and then just SHUT UP.
7. If you want to drive rash and throw caution to the winds, do it on your own time. It’s unfair to get people to partner you on the road to possible self-destruction.
8. If you must break the rules (jumping red-lights, speeding, etc.) you better not harm others. And also…DON’T GET CAUGHT.
9. Someday was your first day behind the wheel. So just give the slow-moving newcomers a break. DON’T BE A BULLY. If anything, give learners a smile and a thumbs-up when you cross them.
10. No matter how great the spot looks before you park, you will see a better spot after you have parked and are getting out of the car. DON’T FRET. You’ve managed to park you car and at that moment it’s all that matters. Nobody’s distributing prizes for getting to the best parking space. Just get over it and go do what you actually came for.
11. Traffic jams don’t last forever. So when your plans have been temporarily halted, first look for a possible way out. When you’ve tried and can’t find any, just MAKE THE MOST OF THE TIME YOU HAVE. Do something exciting enough to remember this traffic jam for a long time to come or at least till the next jam comes up. Call a friend and make small talk, listen to your favorite song on loop (and sing along, if you don’t mind the stares), read the book in your bag or if gentleman-luck is shining on you, you could feast your eyes on fellow traffic-jammers. Give yourself a break and have a good time.
12. Wearing seat-belts (or helmets) makes sense, even if their absence can’t give you deadly diseases. If things can protect you from possible harm, it makes sense to use ’em.
13. Rearview mirrors are a blessing if you’re the kind of person who likes to know what’s happening around you. While you’re moving on ahead, it’s great to be able to SEE WHO’S CATCHING UP.
14. It’s always nice to HAVE A CLEAR VISION, so keep your windscreen clean. Because when people come riding in the opposite direction with headlights shining on you, you don’t want to lose your focus by being blinded.
15. You’re as powerful and capable as you think you are. Just because you’re sitting in a Maruti 800 doesn’t mean an SUV has the right of passage. THE ROAD DOESN’T CARE HOW BIG YOUR VEHICLE IS. If you know how to manage the turns (and the bumps), you’re as good as anybody or better than most.
16. It’s always good to CONCENTRATE ON THE BIG PICTURE – Your final destination. When you do that, getting lost doesn’t seem so bad. You might have to take a detour and it will take longer than usual. You may even need to go back on the road you just passed, but if it gets you out and onto your final destination, it can’t be the worst thing to happen to you. And asking for directions doesn’t show you to be incompetent. Admitting your lack of knowledge may be a small distraction if other people can help you get where you want.
17. And more often than not, the best thing is to TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If you travel on the road that ‘seems’ right to you, pure joy is what you’ll feel when your decision is vindicated. And if it turns out that you were wrong, at least you can be happy that no one else got the luxury of spoiling things for you.