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Who's Riding Along?

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Who's Riding Along?

Bill Crittenden
August 5, 2014

I've been in a car when the driver goes full road rage on another driver.  It's not fun, because it's almost always been a situation I would have avoided, escalated beyond reason, and once involved people getting out of their car to approach ours.

Illinois is a concealed-carry state now, so you never can tell when someone is going to escalate an incident of road rage into "I was defending myself, officer."

These incidents are pretty easy to criticize, because in these instances the driver actually had a passenger with them in the vehicle.  We all know most normal people drive a little nicer when they have their kids in the backseat, because there's that direct link to the consequences of aggressive driving.

But last spring I had to go to traffic school (I was speeding, 47 in a 30 because I rounded a turn from a 45 mph to a 30 mph zone without hitting the brakes).  I wish I remembered the teacher's name, but he had a really interesting take on driving.

Even when your car is empty, you're still carrying the consequences of others along with you for the ride.  Your car's full, even when it's empty.

What does that mean?

Drive drunk, and it's not just your license lost to the DUI, it's possibly your job (mine requires a clean record), which puts your family in a tough spot.  If you can't replace that income right away, or you have to take a lower-paying job, your entire family's quality of life could change.

Start playing with an angry driver that cut you off.  Return the favor.  But if you wreck, or he pulls a gun on you, your family could be without a member.  Is it worth making a point if your daughter grows up without a father?

Or maybe you just want to play Forza Motorsport without the benefit of an Xbox.  Sure, cars are pretty safe these days, but in a country that has its collective noses buried in their iPhones as they walk it's worth noting that vehicular homicide will have you checking yes to the "have you been convicted of a felony?" box on job applications from then on. After you get out of prison, of course.

You might consider that acceptable risk for a few minutes of fun, but how would your husband or wife feel?  Your kids?  Your parents?  Do you really want to be "the one who went to prison" at family reunions?  Do you want to have to give up your career because of your driving record?

Your spouse and kids might not always be strapped in next to you, but try to remember that their well-being is always riding along with you, and drive accordingly.

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