To the Editor,
After reading the letter, Bad drivers pervasive, July 14, I could not help but to add my own piece to the topic of road-use culture.
In my experience, there is an astounding sense of entitlement on the road, combined with ill-humoured agitation and abuse.
In hot-climate countries, there is a measure of spontaneity; a colourful and mostly harmless, vocalized daily drama of life.
This includes the shouting out of greetings, whole conversations, and insults alike, and is seldom scary.
Over here, the gestures and actions of some road users are serious, insulting, rude, and devoid of humour and warmth. It’s scary.
I refer to the generous use of the middle finger, and arms thrown in the air, which quickly escalate to verbal insults upon making eye contact.
Small things trigger these responses, mostly unwarranted.
Examples are: moving at a green traffic light a few seconds late, not turning right on a red light at an intersection that I deem too busy, and my daughter going through a park zone at 30 km/h, with L sign on the back and all.
This rude and entitled road-use culture is cultivated by privilege and the well- functioning, First-World way of life.
Imagine being pushed onto the shoulder of a highway at 140 km/h or spending your entire lunch hour waiting in a lineup at the bank without ever reaching the front.
My proposed remedy for this is to send all entitled and ill-humoured road users to take a gratitude- and patience-training sabbatical and go and live somewhere in Africa for a few months.
Warmth needs to fill the heart first.
Ingrid van Rensburg