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Christ Against Road Rage

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Heaven on Wheels

Principles of Christian Driving Psychology

by Leon James
(c) 2000

Synopsis

Introduction: Driving Psychology out of the New Testament

Chapter 1: Highway Babylon

Chapter 2: The King’s Highway—Where we are going

Chapter 3: Principles of Christian Driving Psychology


Synopsis

Driving Psychology out of the New Testament

Traffic rage, road rage, aggressive driving -- Highway Babylon -- is a spiritual crisis of our generation. Christians need to sanctify their driving. The Lord cares about how we treat our highway neighbor. We need to understand how driving is related to the Gospels.

A Driver's Conversations with an Angel of the Lord

Illustrating the principles of Christian driving as viewed from the mind of one driver who undergoes sanctification. In 3 Parts.

Sunday School Activities for Building Christian Road Morality

Lifelong driver education starts in childhood when we establish our basic road attitudes. New Testament lessons are used as group activities to teach road morality as a religious duty.

Facts & Stats About Driving

Knowledge about driving statistics helps you to think prudently and wisely about driving psychology, driving safety, public policy, driving legislation, and personal self-assessment. It also helps you instruct younger people. See driving informatics here.

Prayers Behind the Wheel

Giving expression to our feelings of charity for the neighbor and love unto the Lord. Inspiring us to remember in a living way that our driving is consecrated to the Lord.

Activities in Cars for Christian Children

Children Against Traffic Rage || Youth Against Traffic Rage ||  Reminder Cards ||  Analysis of Driving Events ||  Lifelong Driving Self-improvement || Quality Driving Circles

Meditation and Discussion Topics on Driving

The Lord stands at our inner door knocking, waiting for a response from us. We need to set our house in order: Is our driving style compatible with Christian ethics? See the Nine Zones of your driving personality here.

Recommended Readings

See the Bookstore items.


Table of Contents

Synopsis

About the Author

Introduction: Driving Psychology out of the New Testament

Chapter 1: Highway Babylon

The Low Road and the High Road

Definition of Aggressive Driving

The Symptoms of Traffic Rage

Road Rage Around the Nation

Traffic Rage in Europe

Road Rage: A Culturally Acquired Habit

Road Rage Video Games

Driving on TV: Do We Need DBB Ratings (Drivers Behaving Badly)?

A Family Activity: How to Neutralize Media Portrayals of Drivers Behaving Badly

Emotional Intelligence for Drivers—Analysis of Driving Choices

The Three-Step AWM Program for Christian Drivers

Facts & Stats About Driving

Driving Education Activities With Children

Driving Self-Witnessing Form for Children

Driver Self-Witnessing Exercise

Driving Log or Tape

A Driver’s Conversation with an Angel of the Lord: Part 1

Chapter 2: The King’s Highway—Where we are going

The Need to Recognize and Accommodate to the Diversity of Drivers

The Trigger Theory of Anger: Convenient Fiction

The Components of Aggressive Driving: Test Yourself Tool Kit

Three Methods for Dealing with Aggressive Drivers

Christian Quality Driving Circles

Inner Power Tools for the Smart Christian Driver

Use positive self-regulatory sentences

Acquire a supportive driving philosophy

Act as-if-good when you feel like being bad

Adopt cooperative ideals for driving and for automobiles

Practice self-witnessing for objective self-awareness

Regularly consider the effect of your driving on others

Come out swinging positive when getting into trouble with another driver or road user

Shrink your emotional territory

Lifelong Driver Education

Activities in Cars

Prayers Behind the Wheel

Sing to the Lord

Reminder Cards

Meditation and Discussion Topics

Christian Affirmations for Drivers

Facts & Stats About Driving

A Driver’s Conversation with an Angel of the Lord: Part 2

Chapter 3: Principles of Christian Driving Psychology

Science and Religion Combine

Understanding The Psychology of Traffic Rage

Three Types of Driving Styles: Oppositional, Defensive, Supportive

Analysis: Why Did You Do That?

Drivers' Self-Serving Bias

Dispositional Attributions

Situational Attributions

Driver's Double Standard

Traffic Schemas

Traffic Scripts

Stereotypes -- It's a Lady Driver

Modifying Your Driving Scripts

Pressure Tactics in Traffic

Stuck on Yellow

Lane Hopping Illusions

Freedom to be Decent

Captive Motorists

Your Moral Driving IQ

Pre-Conventional Morality

Conventional Morality

Post-Conventional Morality

Test Yourself Exercise: What's your Moral Driving IQ?

Be a Traffic Witness

Partnership Driving

Reptilian Driving

Activities for Driving Self-improvement

Tailgating Behavior: Fair or Unfair?

Driving Personality Makeovers

Greening of the Highway

Driver Self-Education

Personality and Behavior

Christian Driving Psychology

The Phenomenon of Traffic and the Aggressive Response

Gender Stereotypes in Driving

The Ten Commandments and Driving

What Are the Sins of a Driver?

What Are the Charitable Acts of a Driver?

Self-Assessment as a Driver: The Christian Driving Log

The Nine Zones of Your Driving Personality

SUMMARY CHART

LAYER

ISSUES INVOLVED

Zone 1--Affective Safety: Fixing Your Driving Attitude

Zone 2--Cognitive Safety: Your Knowledge of Safety

Zone 3 -- Sensorimotor Safety: Your Alertness and Mistakes

Zone 4 – Affective Self-control Issues: Being Rude and Opportunistic or Not

Zone 5 -- Cognitive Self-control and Emotional Intelligence

Zone 6 -- Sensorimotor Self-control or Predictability and Calmness

Zone 7 -- Affective Responsibility: Egotism or Altruism in Your Character

Zone 8 -- Cognitive Responsibility: Your Dramatizations—Negative or Positive

Zone 9 – Sensory-motor Responsibility: Your Driving Style—Dislocated or Integrated

Sunday School Activities

1. The Good Samaritan on the Highway: the Lesson

2. The Good Samaritan on the Highway: the Performance

3. Group Discussions on Driving

4. Mini-Sermon or Lesson on Driving

Facts & Stats About Driving

Meditation and Discussion Topics

The Ten Commandments and Driving

A Driver’s Conversation With an Angel of the Lord: Part 3


Introduction: Driving Psychology out of the New Testament

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion (Psalms 137:1).

As we stand poised on the threshold of the third millennium of our Lord's era, a new spiritual plague has come to besiege the earth: It is known by various phrases: road rage, traffic rage, driving rage, aggressive driving, driving under the influence, reckless driving, urgent driving, and so on. These forms of impaired driving, whether chemically or psychologically induced, kill thousands of people every year on a global scale. In the United States during any year, about 177 million drivers crash into each other 6 million times killing over 40,000 people and seriously injuring over a quarter of million men, women and children. Similar figures apply for the year before, and the year before, and before for several decades. And it will be the same next year, and the year after that, and the year after that--unless we gather the spiritual energy to overcome this social plague.

Polls around the country indicate that people are scared of the highway. The daily commute home for hundreds of millions of people around the globe has become a risky, scary, unmerciful daily stress they must endure. Some people feel it’s a hell hole. Others feel that it’s a miracle they’ve escaped this time. Millions pray before they engage the highway. Who are these drivers who are so hostile that they have turned driving into such a mean activity? Who are these risk-loving drivers who are so dangerous that they kill more people than wars kill our soldiers? The majority of them are Christians.

The fact is that in our society as a whole, made up of essential minorities as it is, Christians still outnumber non-Christians by far. And so we must look to Christians for a solution to traffic rage and aggressive driving. It is mostly Christians who kill each other in the Unites States at the rate of 40,000 every year, and it is mostly Christian drivers who injure each other 6 million times a year. This is far more than the Christians who kill or injure each other in most other countries, including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, or Spain, Lebanon, or other places were wars are going on.

Of course, the motive for these highway killings is not at all the same as that of civil wars and terrorism, and this makes a huge difference. True. Still, experts estimate that the majority of these highway injuries and killings could be avoided if the drivers became less aggressive and more supportive of one another. In other words, these are Christians who unnecessarily kill and maim each other solely because they continue to drive aggressively or poorly due to impatience, selfishness, intolerance, and hatred.

So now the question of the hour for every Christian driver today is, Do I care? Yes, No. Do I care if I frighten the other driver by tailgating or lane hopping or going through red traffic lights? Yes, No. Do I care if I break the law of the land and the law of civilized humanity by drinking and then driving in an impaired state? Yes, No. Do I care if I feel no compassion for other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians? Yes, No. Is my ‘Christian-ness’ itself at stake in how I drive? Yes, No.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion  (Luke 10:33).

Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to
destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby.  For narrow is the gate, and straitened the
way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.  (Matthew 7: 13-14)

The straight and narrow path for Christian drivers is the way of compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, long suffering, ready to be the Good Samaritan through random acts of kindness to other road users, always striving for driver excellence and lifelong self-improvement for the sake of country and Heaven.

America is poised on the second century of car society and we Christians, being the vast majority of drivers in this country, must carry the burden of healing the nation from the spiritual plague of aggressive driving. Already our house stands divided, some of us calling for more law enforcement, more surveillance cameras, more radar and vascars and speed traps and special ‘aggressive’ driving enforcement initiatives by local police and citizen activists. Others donít like this trend and see it as a threat not only to privacy and convenience, but to fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. And still others have offered psychotherapy and anger management clinics. These are reviewed in my other book.

But these are all secular solutions while Christians need a Biblical solution since the root of the problem lies in the driver’s character and will, hence heart and spirit. Our thesis is that traffic rage, or aggressive driving, is a spiritual syndrome and since it’s happening to Christians, a Christian Bible-based doctrinal approach must be formulated as a permanent solution to this global problem. This book is meant to be a handbook of Christian Driving Psychology. Christian drivers and their families will now have an authoritative and scientific doctrine for traffic behavior, fully grounded in and inspired by the New Testament.

It’s especially of concern to all of us that we Christians are now breeding the next generation of aggressive drivers and traffic ragers. Our children are not just passive passengers, but are actively imbibing our driving style, our attitude of hostility and callousness, our cursing and swearing, and the indignities with which we treat one another in cars and on roads. No sooner do teenagers get that license at 15 or 16 and sit behind the wheel, on their own, that they spew out all that they have imbibed as children. All Christians would want to stop this negative and awful generational transmission. We don’t want to continue doing this to our children!

And He called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me: But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on Me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18: 2-6)

Until now no book or doctrine has existed to give Christians the intellectual and scientific power to alter this unhealthy feature of car society. With this book, we hope to provide the impetus for Christians everywhere to take up the helmet of faith and the breastplate of charity, and thus prepared in the Lord, to step forth into spiritual combat in our vehicles on our highways, and to battle on to defeat the enemy that has gotten a foothold in the heart of Christians--hostility and hatred towards other road users, disrespect for legitimate authority, and disdain for official safety regulations. These behaviors and attitudes behind the wheel violate the Lord’s commandments that we should love and forgive one another, and that we should respect legitimate state authority.

This evil epidemic requires Divine intervention and power to stop. And the Lord has given us this Divine power through the New Testament. Therefore in this book, as a solution to traffic rage, we turn first to the sacred New Testament, and second, to the science of psychology.

Jesus therefore said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture.   (John 10: 7-9)

Christians need driving psychology doctrine as a personal management tool for behavior self-modification as a driver. There is no legitimate reason for Christians to be deprived of behavioral psychology principles when these principles are consistently related to what the Lord teaches us in the New Testament. As Christians and as psychologists and social scientists, we are blessed by the Lord with the intellectual tools to fashion a Christian Driving Psychology that is behavioral and objective, and benefiting from the latest contemporary scientific findings. We have more than forty years of experience in scientific and scholarly investigations. We feel obligated by our Christian-ness and rationality, thus integrity, not to keep our scientific expertise apart from our spiritual doctrine. In this book, we unite our faith and our scientific expertise, even as we are striving to do this in our daily lives, praying to the Lord for strength and capacity.

There are nearly one billion Christians alive on this earth today. Though they belong to various denominations, differing in cultural styles and doctrinal concepts, there is one basic and inmost idea that unites them all into a single community of saints. All Christians acknowledge the Bible as the Word of God because Jesus Christ did so when He walked on this earth. All Christians acknowledge that the Word of God was given through revelation for the purpose of teaching us how to live in order to be able to dwell in the presence of the Lord. The Lord Himself taught that the essential of the Word is contained in the Commandments and that these teach how we must live in order to dwell with Him and in Him.

All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:19)

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And He said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets.  (Matthew 22: 36-40)

And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? none is good, save one, even God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother. (Luke 18: 18-20)

All the commandments can be summarized in the Lord's Two Great Commandments (Mark 12: 39-41). We must love the Lord and we must love the neighbor. If we fail to perform these two commandments, we fail the Lord, and we fail our faith, our charity, our salvation. In this book, we apply the essential truth of the Lord's commandments to our thoughts and actions in traffic. There is no ‘time out’ in the eyes of the Lord. His presence is constant. It is our own response to Him that is inadequate when we fail to hate what He hates: and that is, the spirit of the anti-Christ buried in the heart of Christian drivers and causing the highway carnage every day and every hour of the day.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.  (Revelation 3:20)

In these chapters, you will find a Christian Bible-based applied theology of driving. The Christian needs a powerful and truthful sacred rhetoric by which to oppose the cultural practices of aggressive driving and emotional violence. The moral rearmament of Christian drivers needs a doctrinal basis that they can understand and agree with, and also grow by. In the New Testament, the Lord has given us the psychological rhetoric that we need to be able to oppose the social evils within ourselves that destroy the spiritual life of society and corrupts the soul of all its citizens.

He answered and said, And who is He, Lord, that I may believe on Him? Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and He it is that speaketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him.  (John 9: 36-38)

This book provides Christians with the spiritual power tools that the Lord has given us in the New Testament. Using only the Lord's direct teachings, we show how they apply to our thoughts and intentions behind the wheel. Years of experience with research and teaching has given us the knowledge of analyzing the thoughts and feelings that drivers have in traffic, and how these internal activities connect with the Lord's commandments.

Through study of driving psychology principles, and through various activities while driving, we show readers how our acts and intentions as drivers can be continuously purified from anger and pride using the Word of God to transform ourselves. The Christian quest for road peace will transform the killing roads into a King’s Highway.

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.   (Isaiah13:19).

The social crisis of road rage actually provides Christians with a great spiritual opportunity to ‘Christianize’ the highway by imbuing our minds with Christian driving rules from the New Testament. Our entire nation will become stronger and more united in all walks of life, not just on the highway. We can be spiritual models in the world even as we are economic and industrial leaders that benefit all the countries. By becoming Christian in our driving, we are growing stronger as Americans and we are strengthening the bonds that tie us to our Constitution. In short, we are protecting the family and our children from spiritual as well as physical breakdown.

No man, when he hath lighted a lamp, putteth it in a cellar, neither under the bushel, but on the stand, that they which enter in may see the light.  (Luke 11:33)

I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 10:28and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:14; 27-28)

Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering;   forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye:  and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God.   And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  (Colossians 3: 12-17)

Christians have a unique contribution to make to our driving problem in this country, and indeed around the globe. We can lead the transformation of Highway Babylon into The King’s Highway. People around the globe will say, America’s Christians are true to their religion as drivers because they turn the other cheek when struck, as commanded them by their Messiah. People will say, "The drivers in America, who are mostly Christians, are the only drivers in the world who are not aggressive and competitive. They are supportive drivers, sharing opportunities to get ahead and caring for one another. No one is left behind intentionally, if by some relapse someone gets shafted, insulted, or denigrated by someone else, the latter immediately regrets it, feels guilt and shame, repents and asks the Lord for forgiveness, and quickly makes up for it by being extra nice, extra careful and compassionate to others. O, how altruistic! O, how wise and loving! O, let us follow the Christians, let us be supportive drivers too. Our God will reward us for it."

Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5: 14-16)

Fellow Christians, do you enjoy that futuristic projection of The King’s Highway, now coming to us in our hearts and spirit and mind? This is a special historical moment for our religion, and for the universe. Poised upon the third millennium of our Lord’s era and the second century of car society, Christians are given to feel this psycho-biological and spiritual crossing point in humanity’s history and development. The Holy Spirit is active within us to the extent of our willing cooperation in our sanctification process, thus in our spiritual growth and character reformation, transformation, and regeneration.

The behavioral arena of driving is a special and sacred opportunity offered to us by the Lord. We must understand the nature of the psychological resistance we offer to our sanctification. Christian driving psychology gives us this understanding because, first, it is a collection of New Testament verses arranged in an order to create a Gospel Driving Doctrine. This doctrine must be taken cognizance of and adopted as our guiding principle to replace the current secular driving philosophy we have from highway babylon. And second, Christian driving psychology gives us scientifically engineered inner power tools to help us manage ourselves as drivers.

The outer natural self that actually does most of the driving, must be brought into alignment and obedience with the spiritual inner self. This inner self is where our rational capacities are. Here we can reason in accordance with the Gospel Driving Doctrine we have fashioned for ourselves as a guide to Christian highway use. We can always interact with the Holy Spirit directly through our conscience. Thus we are given the power to live our faith as drivers and get away from the current lip service approach we have in highway babylon. And by suffering ourselves to undergo this character transformation as drivers, we gain in all ways imaginable, and beyond that. This affirmation merits elaborating further since it is so hopeful and pleasant.

Yes, we need not be sad on account of the cross we must bear in this radical transformation of our driving personality. At first, Satan wants to discourage us from even attempting anything at all. Dear Christian, as you read this book, do you feel a sense of distaste and even nausea at times, perhaps discouraged at the personal effort that lies ahead? That is our temptation! Our outward natural self feels threatened by this book, even unto death. Yes, it knows that when the Christian in you takes over as manager behind the wheel, it is like Mr. Clean and the terror stricken germs. After all, we know that it is not our own power that overcomes in temptation, for Jesus alone has the power to overcome this world. And so, what power can the devil yield over us? None. Therefore we are confident and sure that our character transformation as drivers can and will take place—if we cooperate willingly in our sanctification by the Holy Spirit.

Everyone can see that if our cooperation were not needed, the Lord would transform everyone in an instant from crazy driver to sane driver. Would He not? He is pure love and pure mercy, and All Powerful. We must think of Him as already doing all that He can, given the restrictions He has imposed on Himself, namely, never to interfere with our spiritual choices. Why is this restriction so important and above all other restrictions? Because without it we cannot be human, or loving, or rational, or wise, hence we cannot be saints in eternity in the Lord in His heaven. If the Lord in His Divine Omnipotence, would utter a Divine command by which all drivers suddenly were rendered incapable of aggressive acts and thoughts, there would no longer be any car crashes and all highway stress and danger would no longer exist. But would those drivers be human? No. They would be robotic automatons activated by God’s mind, not our own. We would not be capable of freely choosing to love God and consciously, as-of-self, work out the details of our lives.

In that sorry world, the Lord would be alone, weeping, because His children are all gone. No, the Lord cannot force us to love Him, but must patiently wait until we agree to it from ourselves, as-if of ourselves, and acknowledging that it is from Him alone. To accomplish this amazing interaction between God and us, we must always believe that all the power comes from the Lord and none comes from ourselves. Yet we must not wait as a stock for inspiration to act. It is our very own personal and unique striving to act from the Lord that constitutes our eternal happiness, joy, and blessedness. It is in this striving that our spiritual life prospers and grows in sanctification. And without this striving, the Lord is shut out and waits patiently, knocking until we open the door to Him, which means, doing His commandments.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  (Matthew 10:16)

Christian Driving Psychology gives the know how for this necessary cooperation between us individually and the Lord. The Lord gives us Christian Driving Psychology through our rational and scientific mind. The Lord wants us to go out and conquer the world and profit from all that He has planted in this earthly garden for our benefit. This includes all the orderly pleasures and fun of everyday life that we have access to through culture, society, community, and family life. If the principles and activities in this book seem too hard or not worth it, think again, friend. Do not let the devil have the upper hand in your temptations. Think of all the benefits you can experience.

As a Christian driver on The King’s Highway you are cruising along in a restful mental state, alert and confident. You are happy and grateful. You feel friendship and community towards the drivers around you. You look on them with favor, pleasantly, because you are pleased to see them, to see them progressing safely, and you wish them well. You feel free in your emotions. You are not subject to the awful law of talons, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, insult for an insult, retaliation for attack. You are Christian, through and through, outside and inside. Like Peter, you finally suffered yourself to allow the Lord of the universe to wash your feet. You have bathed all over by suffering yourself to do the work of transformation from aggressive to tame driver. That was your morality for the sake of your spirituality and religion. You are a sanctified driver.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these My brethren, even these least, ye did it unto Me. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels. Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto Me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25: 40-41, 45-46)

Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways. Christ for the world we sing! The world to Christ we bring, with one accord; With us the work to share, With us reproach to dare, With us the cross to bear, For Christ our Lord. (Christian song)

Selection from Chapter 1

As social scientists interested in the driver-car-road ecosystem, we have studied the thoughts and feelings of drivers for many years, not just our own, but those of hundreds of drivers, Christian drivers, and non-Christian. For instance, in our Internet Road Rage Survey on the Web, 94% of American and Canadian drivers admit they engage in aggressive driving behaviors such as driving over the speed limit, going through a red light, ignoring stop signs, changing lanes without signaling, preventing another driver from entering your lane, yelling and making obscene gestures. The majority of drivers admit to swearing, cussing, cursing, insulting, and enjoying fantasies of violence, punishment, retaliation, or torture. About one in four drivers admit to hostile and aggressive acts such as cutting off to retaliate, tailgating dangerously, braking suddenly to punish a tailgater, revving the engine, or chasing another car and threatening physical violence. We know that at least 80% of the national sample includes Christians of all denominations. It is clear therefore, that the majority of Christians are aggressive in their driving at times, and some people, nearly all the time.

Dear DrDriving,

During the holidays a friend of mine was taken victim to an incident of road rage and was killed in the process. He was parking in a space when a group of males in another car decided they didn't want to wait around for their own car space so they decided to impinge on my friend’s space. When the group realized that he was not going to let them just have the spot they decided to take the issue way too far. They got out of their car, pulled my friend out of his car bashed him until he was unconscious and then put him in their car. After this the group drove off, proceeded to a speed of 120 kms and then threw my friend from the car onto the road. My friend hit his head on the road, smashing it open and later died.

I have never realized the true extent of what happens in road rage. Naively I assumed that road rage was abuse being yelled between cars, people getting followed, getting the finger, and having the occasional fight. But the fact that people are getting murdered over things like a parking spot is unbelievable and terribly horrific.

Looking up road rage on the net has shown me that some people seem to take the approach that road rage is a light hearted matter. That pulling over and abusing people is okay sometimes, that hitting or bashing someone because of their conflicting ability to drive to their own is in someway acceptable. These people really should stop taking this matter as amusing or minor. This is a very serious matter. People are getting killed for the sake of parking their car, for driving 5 kms under the speed limit when you’re in a hurry, and for making a mistake on their way to wherever they are going.

A frightened traveler

This is Highway Babylon. The Christian’s disregard of Christ’s Commandments. Friends, we have discovered within ourselves a cultural conspiracy kept alive by the spirit of anti-Christ. We have imbibed this anti-Christian philosophy of driving through our socialization process. Just look around you and you’ll see how we are currently training our children to grow up to become the next wave of Highway Babylon. Look at our own history, yours and ours. As infants we sat and rode in our parents’ cars, witnessing their impatience and hostile attitude towards other drivers.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)

Growing up as Christians children, we are not allowed to swear and were punished with disapproval and a reprimand whenever we forgot the rules. But no sooner did we enter our parents’ cars, the rules seemed to change, to be turned upside down. Christ-loyalty suddenly turned into Babylon compulsion. The traffic Dragon suddenly roared its ugly mean head and took over our head, even as our Christian spirit sank into our seat. No longer compassion, but retaliation. No longer forgiveness, but condemnation and the desire to punish. No longer the spirit of communion, but the spirit of envious competition, intolerance, hatred and vengeance.

Dear DrDriving:

Hello, my name is Jane. I have found myself to be very concerned in the manner in which I drive every minute, every day now. My brother, Robert of Champaign, IL was involved with road rage on July 3, 1997, during morning rush hour. He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 5 years in prison. He had caused an incident on the highway that morning that resulted in the death of a 40-year old woman. She panicked when my brother slammed his brakes on in front of her, causing her to lose control of her vehicle and cross the grass median. She was ejected from her vehicle (not wearing seatbelt, nonetheless) and killed.

I know that people feel rage every day on the roads, and it scares me to death. I fear for my children and family, as people drive on our roads with no respect for their fellow man, let alone for themselves. I know that what my brother did was wrong. It sure has taught me an important lesson. I wish that the police, state patrol, etc., would start to toughen up on people that are inconsiderate when driving. I wanted to let you know how I was feeling. Thank you.

For years we sat in our parents cars and imbibed the adulterous philosophy of aggressive driving. No sooner that society gives us the privilege to drive, no sooner that we lower our prideful selves into the car seat and grab the wheel with both hands, licensed at last, we turn into one of those dragons that make the life of highway babylon. We become the very image of the Beast as we model our driving style according to what we witness dozens of times every day on TV—drivers behaving badly, and glorifying in it.

Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand (Matthew 7:24, 26)

Licensed to kill. Every year between 40,000 and 50,000 Christian drivers kill each other on highway babylon in the U.S. We crash into each other 6 million times a year and then we spend 200 billion dollars to pay for the yearly monetary consequences. Of course, the pain and suffering, and the anguish and unhappiness, are not included in these figures. Obviously, with 60 million crashes every ten years, considering only the effect upon the immediate family, more than 200 million Americans are negatively affected in a direct way by highway babylon. That’s the un-Godly situation that we are addressing in this book.

We have a Christian answer to traffic rage and highway intemperance and madness.

And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:29)

And it starts with the center of our faith. Fellow Christians, we have had to start with this Bible-based principle: to examine ourselves in traffic through the objective lenses of self-witnessing behind the wheel. We had to look at our thoughts, at our feelings, and our overt actions—as reflections of our personality and character. We had to accept the idea that driving is made up of a sequence of operations we perform mentally, physically, and spiritually.

For instance, the average daily commute for the majority of Americans is 28 minutes (sure feels like it’s more, does'nt’t it?). During this short half-hour, twice a day, five times a week, we engage in several hundred mini-encounters every week, and thousands of mini-exchanges with other drivers every year. We started with a basic and simple question: how many of these mini-exchanges are loving and how many are hateful?

We started carrying a tape recorder in the car and made ourselves speak our thoughts out loud as we were driving. It’s an awkward thing to do and we experienced resistance and discouragement, embarrassment and rebellion. Yet by praying to the Lord and asking for strength to continue, we accumulated such tapes from hundreds of drivers. We each analyzed our own tapes, as well as listened to the tapes of others, and read their analyses.

The proof was obvious and conclusive. With few exceptions, all drivers participate in the destructive spirit of highway babylon. It’s a cultural phenomenon, and a direct and dangerous attack on our Christian future as a society. At this very moment, we are training the next generation of highway babylon, as we drive them around in traffic, cursing and swearing at other drivers, and breaking and violating the laws of the land, ignoring human rights and the spirit of dignity enjoined upon us by our blessed Constitution.

Jesus said unto her, I Am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth on Me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on Me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto Him, Yea, Lord: I have believed that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, even He that cometh into the world. (John 11: 25-27)

A Family Activity: How to Neutralize Media Portrayals of Drivers Behaving Badly

Jehovah shall cover thee under His wings. (Psalms. 91:4).

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of Thy wings. (Psalms. 17:8).

How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings. (Psalms. 36:7).

Unto you shall be healing in His wings. (Malachi. 4:2).

As an eagle that stirreth up her nest, That fluttereth over her young, He spread abroad His wings, He took them, He bare them on His pinions. Jehovah alone did lead Him, And there was no foreign god with Him. (Deuteronomy. 32:11, 12).

Jesus said, O Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings. (Matthew. 23:37; Luke 13:34).

1. Discuss this project with your entire family and enlist everybody’s help. Explain that the purpose is to create a list of television shows that portray scenes of drivers behaving badly—movies, sit-coms, cartoons, commercials, videotapes. If you like, you can also include electronic games as well as books and magazines.

2. You need to write down the following specific information about each episode you witness:

  • date
  • time
  • channel/network
  • name of program
  • type of program (e.g., car commercial, other commercial, cartoon for young kids, scene in a movie or serial, etc.).
  • a specific description of the bad driving behavior

6. Have a family group discussion and talk about each observation in terms of how it might influence the driving attitude, style, and morality of the children and drivers who are exposed to such scenes over and over again for several years.

7. Parents and older children can discuss how these media portrayals of drivers behaving badly could have influenced their own driving style.

8. Discuss how you can improve this activity and share it with other families. One activity that goes a little further is to develop a rating scale that would give you an overall score for each show. Here is an example:

Prominence throughout the course of the program, how much importance and emphasis the scene had.
How realistic was the scene, is it something that could be easily reproduced by people who watched it.
Danger involved, did the sequence pose a threat to the driver or other vehicles, drivers or pedestrians.

The rating for each category goes from 1 (very mild form) to 10 (very intense form). You can assign a weighting scheme that you deem appropriate. One way is to give a maximum number of points to each category:

Prominence 0-3
Realistic nature 0-3
Danger Involved 0-4
Total possible10

Here is an example in which this DBB rating scheme was used:

Program: The Mighty Ducks

Day: Tuesday

Date: 10/14/97

Time: 7:30 am

Channel: 5 - KFVE

Description of Events


The Mighty Ducks are driving in their All-Terrain Vehicle down a street when they encountered a nemesis who is looking to cause some trouble. The program itself was half and hour and this scene took up approximately a minute and forty seconds. In the list of behaviors, car A will be the Mighty Ducks (the good guys) and car B will be the nemesis.

Specific Behaviors

  • Car A travels down the middle of the road instead of staying in the proper lane.
  • The bad guy in car B approaches car A head on in the middle of the road and begins firing a gun that is attached to the roof of his car.
  • Car A pulls a U-turn in the middle of the road, goes into "assault mode" and begins returning fire to car B.
  • Car A and B sideswipe each other, but both keep driving.
  • Car B shoots car A with a laser and sends it flying into a building where debris begins to fall on it.
  • One of the passengers from car A jumps onto car B and drops in a grenade that causes it to explode in the middle of the road.

Analysis and Evaluation

Absolutely no concern is expressed for other drivers or pedestrians that may be in the surrounding area by either the good guys or the bad guy.

The depiction of scenes where the cars sideswipe each other is very poorly representative of actual car accidents where damage to cars and possible injury to passengers often occurs.

When car A collides with the building and the debris begins to fall on the vehicle, everyone is able to jump out of the car without any injury. This is highly unrealistic and a poor model for how people actually experience real life accidents.

Rating

Prominence: 2

Realistic Nature: 1

Danger Involved: 3

Total score 6

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.. (John 13: 34-35)

Over the past half century of television society, psychologists and educators have come to understand how violence portrayed on TV influences children and adults. The mechanism of transfer is imitation when identifying with the role model. When the conditions give people an opportunity, they are tempted to imitate what they have seen performed by a role model. A common belief has that we have nothing to fear from TV because we all know that it portrays fantasy and drama rather than reality. This belief does not take into account the mechanism of role modeling which goes on with or without the conscious awareness of the individual.

All observant parents can see this effect in their children. Children are copy cats. Children are influenced by what they see. Observe some commercials yourself: even adults have a difficult time telling exactly which part is real and which is fake. When you see driving scenes, it is often difficult to tell whether the actor is actually driving or whether the car is being towed. Nor is it easy to tell when a scene has been edited, cut, or tampered in any way, so that the timing and the sequence appear real but actually are not. Thus, our standard of what’s real has been influenced or confused by our inability to tell on TV what’s real and what’s not.

In one scene we witnessed today (Goodburger), a lunch wagon truck was racing through town causing all sorts of crashes. The driver and his companion were both teenagers and they showed no care or remorse for the havoc they were causing. Instead, they were gleeful. A delivery truck was behind them, trying to keep up and investigate. The two teenagers driving the lunch wagon truck started throwing food and drinks out of the car so that it all seemed to splatter on the pursuing truck's windshield. Along with throwing, the teenagers were laughing and partying and wanting to increase their mayhem. The delivery truck now had its windshield totally covered with food, yet it kept driving.

Look at the children’s faces who are watching these scenes, and look at the adults’ faces. What do you see? Smiles, cheers, amusement, excitement. Not concern, not shock, not dismay, not disapproval. It’s naÔve to see this powerful psychological involvement and then expect no influence. Both children and adults imbibe these scenes and the fun and excitement they experience stamps it into their affective mind, where it lurks near the heart, weakening the spirit. Conscience is weakened. Resolve to be good is weakened. Reality parameters are made fusize="3y. Standards are overstepped and made acceptable in some ways. Additional discussion on DBB ratings may be found here.

A Driver's Conversation with an Angel of the Lord: Part 1

So shall it be in the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the righteous, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13: 49-50)

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7: 1-5).

I was considering these points and wondering whether I was a Christian driver or not. I was feeling very annoyed at the traffic. This red light is so long for some strange reason. Maybe it's the pedestrians. I felt my teeth gritting against each other. Suddenly an Angel of the Lord was sitting on the passenger seat and I was frozen with surprise and awe. My mouth was open and I could not speak. He spoke with a musical tone in perfect American English.

"Cactus Tree, you better get moving. The people behind you are getting very anxious."

Then I heard the honking and I realized I had been hearing the honking for quite some time. My automatic self sprang into motion and drove the car for me. I let it take over. My conscious mind was busize="3ing with too many threads for me to disentangle any one of them. I knew he was an Angel of the Lord. I knew internally. It was an amazing experience. I just saw it in my mind's eye, or in spiritual light. And I hear myself say to him:

"Why did you call me Cactus Tree?"

"Because that's what I see when I look at you. In the spiritual world people appear to each other according to their inner nature or character, and when I approached you I saw you as a cactus tree, a desert plant surrounded by sand, rocks, scorpions, and heat without moisture, yet inside of you I could see moisture, water, sweetness, and playfulness, like jelly when it is shaken."

I was astounded, hardly knowing what to do with these analogies. I put aside so I can think about it later. Right now I wanted to know what this supernatural visit meant. Why me? Why now? The Angel of the Lord seemed to know my questions and proceeded to answer me.

"I was taking my daily walk in my garden adjacent to my house in which I live with my beloved wife, and lo, I saw you down below, in your car and I wished that I could come to you and comfort you. As soon as I begged the Lord to grant me the wish, I found myself sitting in your car next to you."

I did not answer. I was busy thinking to myself. That's it? Could it be that simple? This is not some historical earth-shattering event in which I was chosen to play a central role. No. This is just some angel somewhere in the universe who happened to see me in his meditations and was granted the wish to be here. What kind of an angel story is that? Besides aren't things supposed to be angelic when angels appear? How come I'm still in a lousy mood. How come this stupid traffic is getting slower instead of faster? How come this idiot ahead of me is not closing the gap? How come it has to rain so it slows things down even more, especially these Sunday drivers who don't know their skids from their lids...Ha, ha, ha.

"I see that you use the expression 'Sunday drivers.' When you thought of the word Sunday my mind was filled with brilliant light on account of the fact that Sunday is the Lord's Day, and when we think of the Lord, light fills us from our core outward. But it also saddens me to see that you use that sacred word to belittle and denigrate the drivers that your will does not favor. On account of that discrimination in your will, your spirit is filled with a dark cloud that absorbs the light of Heaven, and your mind is shut to rationality and truth. It is then filled with irrationality and falsities."

While the Angel of the Lord was speaking to me I was able to see the truth of what he was saying. I saw it in clear light, from within. My mind's inner eye received the light to see it. But when he stopped talking I seemed to return to the exact point I was before--feeling lousy and mean and wanting to do something dangerous. Damn, damn, I thought to myself, I'm going to miss my exit ramp. I forced my way into the right lane. The driver behind me had to brake sharply to avoid hitting me. I was gritting my teeth, trying not to say out loud what I actually felt on account of the Angel. I looked over to side again, astonished. The Angel had vanished!

I felt remorseful, ashamed. How could I swear right in front of the Angel of the Lord! I asked forgiveness and the suddenly the angel was back.

e-mail Dr. James

Selections  from Chapter 2

The Trigger Theory of Anger: Convenient Fiction

A University of Michigan study found that women tend to choose distraction to cope with anger, while men choose rumination and distraction equally. Evidence indicates that dwelling on anger increases its intensity, while distraction reduces it. Experts now believe that anger is as much of a risk for heart disease, in both sexes, as cholesterol, smoking, or high blood pressure. Aggressiveness is a response to the feeling of loss of power. The aggressor actually feels like the victim, feels justified in retaliating, and uses physical and verbal retaliation as a means to restore the self-pride or dignity that was 'robbed' by the other person's 'stupid' or 'inconsiderate' behavior. However, this is a short-term physiological relief, while in the long run, the opposite is in fact the case. The aggressor's conscience inwardly convicts, and the aggressor feels guilt, remorse, or 'out of control.'

Many people believe in the trigger-theory of anger which sees traffic ragers as maladjusted individuals who need therapy to help them manage their intense anti-social emotions. For this reason, anger management therapies and stress control programs have been around for decades for those who can afford psychotherapy. However, applying this psychotherapeutic approach to drivers in general will have limited success because traffic rage is a generic, cultural problem and not an individual mental problem.

The problem is not so much the presence of anger itself, but uninhibited aggressiveness. Our cultural norms permit the expression of hostility among drivers. This became clear when we analyzed the self-witnessing reports of many drivers. They felt justified in their traffic rage. They were proud of their aggressiveness. There was hardly any recognition of unfairness or consciousness of wrong doing. For example, in a general poll, less than 1 in 4 individuals believed that tailgating is a moral issue!

The fuel that drives aggressiveness on the road is the false assumption that it's the action of the other driver that makes us hostile, that triggers our aggressive response. But the offending act does not automatically trigger the aggressive response, it merely creates an opportunity for an attack in order to express righteous indignation.

If other drivers were the trigger, you'd have no choice but to be aggressive every time something goes wrong. Yet this isn't what happens. Drivers only retaliate sometimes, not every time. Some drivers never retaliate overtly, though they want to. For Christians, 'wanting to retaliate' is a spiritual temptation that hurts us when we stop disapproving of it. Merely having the feeling of anger and the desire to retaliate is not itself a sin of which we're guilty because it is our inherited nature as creatures of earth, as well as our acquired nature by growing up in this society. The guilt or spiritual damage to ourselves starts when we choose to approve of it.

To approve of our desire to retaliate is spiritually corrupting and puts dark clouds between ourselves and the Lord who stands at our door, waiting for us to reject our aggressiveness and desire to retaliate. The Lord's nature is meek and our harshness keeps meekness out.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I Am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. (Matthew 21:5)

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. (Revelation 5:8)

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:13)

The harshness and heartlessness of retaliation is the old law that was necessary for savage hearts, the very mentality that Christ came to reject and overcome:

I Am the Resurrection and the Life he that believeth in Me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die (John 11:25, 26).

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5: 38-39)

So also will My heavenly Father do unto you, if ye from the heart forgive not every one his brother their trespasses (Matthew 18:35).

The recognition that we are responsible for our aggressive reactions is both spiritual and secular. In 1997 safety officials and government and citizen activists, have officially switched from the word "accident" to "crash." The rest of the population is still catching up to this new word usage. But it's not merely a name switch-it's a totally new confession. By using "crash" instead of "accident" we are now making an about turn in society. "Accident" was used throughout the first century of car society, but "crash" begins the second century, and the third millennium. By using it you're making the affirmation that when a motor vehicle causes damage or injury, the driver is to be presumed guilty. The presumed guilty driver will then have to prove that in this specific instance, there is no guilt, if indeed there is not. With "accident" one is presumed innocent; with "crash" one is presumed guilty--either one of the drivers, or both.


The Components of Aggressive Driving: Test Yourself Tool Kit

Here is one of the test-yourself inventories we use for drivers who want to change their driving style. By reading the items and how they are organized and scored, you can identify the specific elements that constitute your own aggressive driving. The following 20 items are arranged along a continuum of escalating degrees of hostility experienced by drivers, beginning with relatively milder forms of aggressiveness (step 1) and going all the way to ultimate violence (step 20). How far down the un-Christian road do you sometimes allow yourself to go behind the wheel? The majority of drivers we tested go as far as step 13. How about you?

1. Mentally condemning other drivers.

2. Verbally denigrating other drivers to a passenger in your vehicle.

3. Closing ranks to deny someone entering your lane because you're frustrated or upset.

4. Giving another driver the "stink eye" to show your disapproval.

5. Speeding past another car or revving the engine as a sign of protest.

6. Preventing another driver from passing because you're mad.

7. Tailgating to pressure a driver to go faster or get out of the way.

8. Fantasizing physical violence against another driver.

9. Honking or yelling at someone through the window to indicate displeasure.

10. Making a visible obscene gesture at another driver.

11. Using your car to retaliate by making sudden, threatening maneuvers.

12. Pursuing another car in chase because of a provocation or insult.

13. Getting out of the car and engaging in a verbal dispute, on a street or parking lot.

14. Carrying a weapon in the car in case you decide to use it in a driving incident.

15. Deliberately bumping or ramming another car in anger.

16. Trying to run another car off the road to punish the driver.

17. Getting out of the car and beating or battering someone as a result of a road exchange.

18. Trying to run someone down whose actions angered you.

19. Shooting at another car.

20. Killing someone.

The Unfriendly Zone: Items

1 to 3

mental and verbal acts of unkindness towards other drivers.
The Hostile Zone: Items

4 to 7

visibly communicating one's displeasure or resentment, with the desire to punish.
The Violent Zone: Items

8 to 11

carrying out an act of hostility, either in fantasy or deed.
The Lesser Mayhem Zone: Items

12 to 16

epic road rage contained within one's personal limits.
The Major Mayhem Zone: Items

17 to 20

uncontained epic road rage, the stuff of newspaper stories.

From a driver in an electronic newsgroup discussion: I agree: people who drive too slowly in the fast lane cause danger and frustration to others on the road, and probably should stick to the side roads if possible. BUT, aggressive driving is just as bad if not worse, causing innocent people to be hurt or killed. By aggressive, I'm not talking about driving fast. A lot of roads are built to handle fast driving. I'm talking about people who take their frustrations out on others while driving. Immature, heartless, brainless, dangerous people who think that when someone cuts them off in traffic they have to get revenge, consequently endangering the lives of everyone who happens to be driving near them.

I have lost people dear to me because of people who think just like you. You probably think that there's this club of "slow ass" drivers on the road just to make you mad. I have news for you--you're not that special! I don't know if you're the kind of person who freaks out on the road, but if you do I'd like to make my point very clear: As far as I'm concerned, aggressive driving is like waving a loaded gun in a public place. People who do it should be prosecuted. They are one step away from being murderers.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.   (Matthew 5: 19-20)

Lifelong Driver Education

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

It is a well known that the traditional driver's ed. has remained inadequate as the means for teaching full competence and knowledge of safety, and only satisfies the bare minimum for getting driver's licenses into the hands of millions of young people. Even less attention is given to teaching emotional intelligence skills. The result is that most drivers are ill-prepared to manage their intense emotions behind the wheel. We propose that henceforth driver education should be taught K-12 for Emotional Intelligence Skills on the road:

  • As pedestrians, how to behave towards drivers ∑
  • How to behave as passengers ∑
  • How to deal with hostility expressed by drivers ∑
  • How to deal with peer pressure in highway situations ∑
  • How to develop and sustain a positive driving philosophy ∑
  • How to be accepting of diversity and how to accommodate to it ∑
  • How to practice self-witnessing on roads and in cars ∑
  • How to participate in Quality Driving Circles
  • How to use inner power techniques to manage emotions in traffic ∑
  • How to neutralize the media portrayals of drivers behaving badly ∑
  • How to resist bad influences from friends who want to party in the car ∑
  • How to be psychologically prepared for not driving after drinking ∑
  • Knowledge of driving psychology principles ∑
  • How to be active in the movement called Children Against Road Rage ∑
  • Getting used to keeping a permanent Road User Log or Diary

Dear DrDriving:
When driving in the right hand lane, I will often take note of the traffic behind me as I approach a red light. If I find there is no turn lane at the light and the car behind me has their turn signal on indicating they want to turn right, I will pull into the next lane to my left (if I can do so safely) so the person in the right hand lane behind me can make their turn at the light without having to wait for it to turn green (you can turn right on a red light in Arizona).

I also tend to give up my "right of way" to anyone who has the courtesy to use their turn signal. I believe bad driving habits begin outside of the automobile. If we improve our relations with other humans (as a whole in this culture) and consider other drivers on the road as people instead of as automobiles, driving conditions will begin to improve. When someone smiles or waves at you, you remember their humanity. When someone honks at you, you remember their license number. You can quote me on that.

Prayers Behind the Wheel

But he that hateth his brother is in the darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because the darkness hath blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:11).

Lord, we are grateful that you are giving us the understanding for how to be a compassionate and law abiding driver. Lord, we thank you for the desire to act peacefully towards other drivers and road users. We pray that you keep us from falling into temptations behind the wheel and we ask for strength to resist our natural penchant for competing with other drivers and denying them the courtesy I owe them and the dignity they are entitled to as God's children. Amen.

Lord, help me to see that tailgating is wrong. Strengthen my resolve to keep my vehicle within legal and safe limits. Heal me, Lord, of a led foot and an impatient heart. Let your angel watch over all road users, that we may be protected from taking dangerous risks. Help us Lord to see our driving errors and heal us from the sin of anger against our neighbor on the road. Amen.

Go forward Christian soldier The Lord has been thy shelter The Lord will be thy light Trust only Christ thy captain Heed not the treacherous voices that lure thy soul astray O pray that faith and virtue may keep thee to the last. (Christian Hymn)

Lord, I want consciously to be the kind of driver You want me to be so that Your love can be the foundation upon which I build my traffic life. I can then be in harmony with the rest of the Highway Kingdom and my decisions can be grounded in Divine Love and Wisdom, so that I may be confident that my actions and thoughts and intentions will be loving and harmonious, supportive and tolerant, collective and coordinated, predictable to others, a Good Samaritan, in accordance with Your wishes, O Lord Jesus. Amen.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14).

Lord, when my thought focuses on You, I feel loved, warm and secure. Let it be with me as it was with You, recorded in Psalm 63:1 "O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you." Thank you, Lord, for the wisdom and love I have as a driver. Let your righteous judgments be my judgments behind the wheel--swift and accurate, prudent and compassionate. Keep the demon of traffic rage from tempting me to sin, for I know full well my former delights of rage and retaliation, anger and unrighteous judgment, and all manners of driving foolishness--tailgating, speeding, blocking the left lane, going through red lights, ignoring stop signs, changing lanes without signaling, revving my engine, insulting, wishing ill, feeling selfish, and worse than these. Lord Jesus Christ, You are my God, You I seek, and my mind and spirit thirst for You, for Your love and wisdom, for your gentle instruction, for your patience and encouragement, for your protection and promises. Amen.


Christian Affirmations for Drivers

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.   (James 3: 17-18)

But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. For if any one is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing.  (James 1: 22-25)

  1. Every driver can become a transformed driver!
  2. A driver’s character CAN change and improve endlessly!
  3. You CAN become a Renewed Driver, a driver with HEART!
  4. Driving CAN be beautiful!
  5. Every bad driving habit can be modified!
  6. The Lord participates in your driving—let it be a harmonious cooperation!
  7. The Lord appoints Angels to be with you while you drive!
  8. You can place yourself in the protective stream of Divine Providence by consciously honoring drivers and traffic regulations!
  9. We make hundreds of little decisions while driving, and every one of them counts spiritually—for the Lord or against the Lord!
  10. Heaven is real. Hell is real. Eternity is real. It’s our choice, says the Lord!
  11. Highway babylon CAN be transformed into The King’s Highway, and I am called upon to make a contribution as a driver!
  12. All drivers CAN be transformed from an aggressive driver into a supportive driver!
  13. All Christian drivers experience aggressive moments, and these are given them as a spiritual temptation to overcome for the sake of purification, hence closer ties to the Lord!
  14. Christian drivers CAN switch from being a big part of the problem to being a big part of the solution to highway babylon!
  15. We CAN pray to the Lord to save us from our negative thinking behind the wheel and to fill us with His positive thoughts!
  16. Christian drivers who have experienced the transformation, sense an inner joy braking forth all around them in traffic—already they are in The King’s Highway!
  17. Christian drivers who have experienced the transformation, sense an inner strength surging within them when sitting behind the wheel!

     

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would
I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!! (Matthew 23:37)

Except ye believe that I Am, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalms 91: 2, 4)


A Driver’s Conversation with an Angel of the Lord: Part 2

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15: 3-7)

I was troubled. There was distress in my heart. I glanced over and saw his face again. I had not noticed before that he was an extremely handsome young man. Hard to pinpoint the age, but I’d say about 22. There was a definite luminance to his skin and his expression was intelligent and relaxed. I only took about three quarters of a second to look at him, then my head whipped back. His image was still sharp in my memory as my eyes were searching the road ahead. Heavy rain drops were beginning to appear on my windshield. I waited awhile before turning on the wipers. When I did it was too soon and there still was'nt’t enough water so my blades were rubbing the glass and making that awful noise I hate.

So I turned it on for a three wipes, then I turned it off. Then I turned it on again, but it stopped raining. I was disappointed. Now I have nothing to fool with. I glanced over to the Angel of the Lord. He was just looking ahead with a pleasant expression, as if he was admiring everything.

"May I ask you a personal question, Lord?"

"Oh, you must never call me that! It’s true, I’m an Angel of the Lord and the Lord fills me with His Spirit, which is the source of the luminance of my face that you just witnessed, and the source of all my wisdom. After all, I’m a man like you, and I have lived in your world and city once, when I was in my physical body. But sometime after I passed on, I was transmuted with my loved one to the heavenly mansion the Lord had prepared for us, as He taught when He was in the world.

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

So now the Lord has sent me on this mission to come to your aid and has opened your spiritual eyes so that you can converse with me. That is why I’m here. Don’t try to make that yellow light!"

I instinctively took my foot of the gas pedal and pressed the brake pedal. I had to really apply force to keep the car from lunging into the intersection. The car had not yet completed its last dip when a van in the cross street emerged from the left and sped through the intersection while it was still yellow for me and red for him. He would have slammed right into me from the driver’s side. My heart was palpitating. I felt a little sick. My mind was screaming obscenities and atrocities at that driver. I was breathing rapidly, my eyes were bulging, and as I was screaming, I started sputtering saliva. I must have looked like a dragon to the Angel. Finally, I could talk.

"Thanks for saving my life! That guy was a maniac, a killer, a dangerous fool."

"You might want to balance your view a bit. You share some of the responsibility for that near miss, don’t you?"

I was taken aback. I haven’t considered my contribution. That idiot sped right through red while I was trying to make yellow. Which is worse? Obviously going through red is worse than going through yellow. In fact, one is legal while the other is illegal. The Angel responded to my thoughts as if I had spoken them aloud.

"That’s not the point, friend. The dragon has taken hold of your good sense. That’s natural. But you can exit from his hell hole of aggressiveness and cynicism. The Lord has given you the direction, the lamp, and the way. You know it friend. Think of it."


Chapter 3: Principles of Christian Driving Psychology

Science and Religion Combine

O God of truth, whom science seeks And rev’rent souls adore, Who lightest ev’ry earnest mind Of ev’ry clime and shore, Dispel the gloom of error’s night, Of ignorance and fear. (Christian song)

Come thy Holy Spirit, come! And from thy celestial home, Shed a ray of light Divine. Where thou art not, man hath naught, Nothing good in deed or thought. Bend the stubborn heart and will, Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray. (Christian song)

Christian Driving Psychology is based on the idea that Christians are called upon by their religion to cooperate consciously in the sanctification process they must undergo in order to transform their character from natural to spiritual. It’s the religious duty of every follower of Jesus Christ to obey the commandments He gives in the eternal Word of the New Testament. The Lord teaches that there is a heaven and a hell, and that He is bound by His infinite love for us to allow all individuals to choose their spiritual destiny. The Lord has revealed the psychological mechanism by which He sends the Holy Spirit into our mind and there effects the operation of regeneration. The Lord has revealed many aspects of this developmental process and we need to continue to study the New Testament so that the Lord can reveal more fully the amazing things in it.

This book is our attempt to move in that direction and gives the fruits of our labors for the past two decades. As active social scientists, our approach is necessarily scientific, and we have diligently maintained the scientific approach because we believe in the use of science for understanding ourselves and how Divine Providence operates all details of our world and of our mind. Our thesis can be put very simply as follows. Science is the investigation of reality using rational and objective methods. God, creation, and Divine Providence have been part of science since its beginnings, and have remained part of science during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, when modern science was established and the great scientific technologies were made.

It was only in the 20the century that the idea arose that God and the operation of Divine Providence should be excluded from scientific explanations, and all those who refuse shall be booted out by the ruling science mandarins. The culprits who insist on including spiritual reality as part of their science, shall not be hired, shall not be given government grants, and shall not be allowed to publish in the journals, and shall not serve on the administrative bodies of science halls. The response on the part of scientists who are Christians has been to exclude every Christian belief from their scientific publications and lectures. This double personality has given strength to the anti-God science reigning today. Our scientific careers have had to proceed in this censorship atmosphere so that we too became guilty of contributing to the system. Thousands of students went through our social science classes, and almost none of them got to find out that we believed that there is room for God in science.

Today, with this book, we break steps with our social science colleagues. They are used to a few scientists having a change of heart and turning to religion, while abandoning science. This they can easily accept. What we have done is different, and represents a great challenge to them. We have endeavored to remain social scientists even as we have used the New Testament as a psychology and biology handbook. Perhaps others that we’re not aware of, have also introduced proposals for a similar re-direction of science. We believe that many such proposals will be forthcoming as all of science returns to its historical and radical roots.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I Am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. (John 14: 1-4)

We believe that religions and denominations will continue to mark the richly variegated spectrum of spiritual life on this planet. Varieties of religions and denominations (but not cults!), may actually be legitimate expressions of cultural or ethnic genius. The Lord has many mansions and many other children than the Jews and the Christians, perhaps even many other planets! It’s rational to expect that the Lord’s infinite love and wisdom should want to create an infinite variety of human intellect, all acknowledging Him in their own way. This variety, though legitimate and pleasing to the Lord, necessarily creates distinctions and rituals that appear to clash. Hence there will be separation and difference in the way people worship the Lord. These differences do not create conflict unless charity and compassion are thrown away for the sake of imposing our rituals over others who don’t want them.

One very important force of cohesion that pulls people of various religions together is science. We hire scientists without asking them their religion. In the future, scientific theories and explanations will be integrated into the Sacred Scriptures of every religion (but not cults!). For instance, Christian Driving Psychology is integrated with the New Testament. Obviously, Islamic Driving Psychology or Buddhist Driving Psychology will be scientific theories based on the Koran or the writings considered by all Buddhists as Sacred. Since we believe that all true religions are the Lord’s creations, and serve the Lord as their God, consciously or unconsciously, the revelations the Lord has brought about in each religion are true realities specifically tailored to suit the intellectual genius of that nation. And since all true Sacred Writings deal with the same reality, the reality of God, they will have similar scientific approaches. Eventually all sciences will converge on the one true reality.

The CHART that we present and explain in the following pages is part of Christian Driving Psychology, and yet it is also part of driving psychology as a science of human behavior focusing on driving and road behavior. It can be used in Islamic or Buddhist or Jewish or Hindu Driving Psychologies since, since like medicine, it works with the natural body and mind, which we share in common irrespective of our ethnic or racial births. The CHART is a scientific map of your mind or spirit as it is engaged in driving or other road behavior. Driving is made up of many little skills and habits following each other quickly as you drive and respond to changing situations moment by moment. Your reactions to situations and events are taken from a repertoire or inventory that is available to us through these habits and skills. The totality of these habits and skills, both overt or physical, and psychological or mental, make up your Driving Personality.

The skills and habits that make up our driving personality come from our culture, our neighborhood, our mass media, and our parents. Much of this is automatic and sub-conscious, having been learned in childhood, or imbibing it through social peer identification. Christians who feel the urgency to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in their own sanctification process, now have available to them a living arena in which to do so, namely behind the wheel and on the road. Yes, we ought to cooperate in all walks of life. But how to do so without leaving it as mere lip service? Our answer is that we need to initiate our cooperation in our sanctification in each area of science that gives us power to do so. Since our specialty as social scientists has been driving and the automobile, we have been able to identify this arena for Christian sanctification. Other arenas exist and will be developed by Christians in science.

Babylon is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods He hath cast forth unto the ground (Isaiah 21:9).

Every pilot, and everyone who is employed upon the seas, and mariners, and all they who trade upon the sea, stood afar off, when they saw the smoke of the burning of Babylon, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, wherein were made rich all that have ships in the sea by reason of her costlyness! Then an angel took up a stone as it were a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall Babylon be cast down (Revelation 18:17-21).

The healing of the highway is the healing of the hearts of drivers who are joined together as a community of Christ. Aggressive driving is hostile driving. It hurts the highway community. Drivers who drop their alertness behind the wheel become a menace to all road users. They kill and maim anyone in reach, especially if the impairment in alertness and judgment is due to alcohol in the blood. Drivers who tailgate have hardened their hearts against the neighbor. There is no love in our hearts when we insult another driver. There is judgment—condemnation of the offending driver as worthless and inhuman, thus not requiring our compassion or charity.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5: 38-39)

Revenge and retaliation is in our heart and mind and spirit when we threaten another driver by an act of violence. We hear of gruesome stories in the news about road rage mayhem between crazed drivers. Yet the Lord said that it’s enough to approve of something mentally, or in your imagination, in order for it to count as a sin (Matthew 5: 27-28).

It’s natural to swear in traffic when something unexpected and threatening happens between two drivers, and especially if the drivers see each other’s actions as deliberate or uncaring. It’s natural to swear and curse in those situations. But it’s spiritually wrong. Cursing another driver for any reason at all is not Christian, as the Lord reminds us:

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. (Matthew 15:11)

Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:22)

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Peter said unto Jesus, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? until seven times? Jesus saith to him, I say not until seven times, but until seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).


Traffic Scripts

Cognitive scientists use the word script to refer to the sub-components of a schema. For instance, when you enter a restaurant, you know what to do because you have learned a "restaurant script" -- executing a sequence of actions appropriate to the restaurant situation such as choosing a table, ordering, waiting, eating, paying the bill, leaving. All day long we follow the scripts that we acquire through habit and practice. This saves time and mental effort in having to re-figure everything from scratch.

At some point, schemas and scripts become so habitual and automatic that we are no longer aware of them. The script sub-consciously guides our actions and expectations. At this point, our behavior can be held captive to rigid scripts, preventing us from adapting and changing appropriately. Practicing the self-witnessing technique loosens your scripts through greater awareness, and prepares them for editing.

What I find interesting (regardless of merit) is that there is a male style of driving and a female style. You can almost always tell the sex of the driver by looking at the positioning, speed and signaling behavior of the car rather than at the driver. Of course one distorting factor is that some makes of cars (smaller ones) tend to be driven by women and some by men. In summary: Men: aggressive driving, speeding, blind overtaking, impatience at junctions, tailgating. Women: hesitation, obstruction, bad vehicle positioning at junctions, bad observation, inadequate maneuvering skills, inadequate signaling.

Your scripts and schemas can be very specific. You expect different things from various passengers, be they parents, children, a spouse, friends, or the driver license inspector. We have a separate script for each of these situations. Scripts that govern our driving behavior take into account the type of road and the neighborhood. The script for driving with a police car behind you is different from the "no cops around" script. Your driving schema in downtown traffic, at a time when you feel like you're fighting your way through it, has a more aggressive script in comparison to your neighborhood driving script.


Stereotypes -- It's a Lady Driver

I know I sound like a troll, but since this newsgroup is based on driving then this question should be appropriate. I'm being serious by the way. Who do you think are the most arrogant drivers? I've read articles in Car and Driver, Road and Track, etc sent in complaining about BMW drivers. From my experiences, I'd have to say that Honda, Toyota, Nissan drivers are the most arrogant. Especially the ones that drive Accords and Camrys and Maximas. Pretty much the most expensive car drivers tend to think they should own the road; and are the most arrogant. Read BMW & Mercedes, for example (actually, the over-the-top ones like Rolls Royce are so rare I've never noticed them!). The most aggressive are females under 25, and the most unobservant are SUV drivers. (Posted on an electronic Newsgroup for drivers)

A schema or script can be the basis for holding on to stereotypes and prejudices. Take for example person-schemas that are part of our beliefs about other people. One motorist was irritated at a car that was moving slower in his lane. When he got around the car and looked at the driver, he felt disdain: "It's a lady driver. They can't drive. She obviously doesn't get my hint." His person-schema for women drivers forces him to see every encounter in this biased manner. He has practically no chance of discovering the truth and of seeing traffic events in an objective manner.

Newsgroup posting:

Amazing how people will refuse to face the facts that women are safer drivers and make up all sorts of 'excuses' as to why insurance rates are cheaper for women. Insurance companies are not fools they know that women are a better claims risk as far as they are concerned.

Which received this reply:

You don't need to make up the fact that women drivers, even insured women drivers, drive less distance than men drivers. Whilst young women drivers are better than their contemporary "boy racers," older males (35-45) are twice as safe "mile for mile" than their female counterparts. They do however drive about twice as many miles so premiums are normally the same.

We are all at the mercy of our un-witnessed schemas! Prejudiced person-schemas can pile up unexamined with every encounter that is made to fit the earlier category. You become victim to your own self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the last 2 years. I've been in 3 accidents, all caused by the kinder, gentler half of our species. #1: a young woman turned left into my car from a straight-only lane. She lied to her insurance company, but I did collect my deductible from her. #2: a middle-aged woman rear-ended me at a stop sign where I had been stopped for about 10 seconds waiting for cross traffic to pass. She said she didn't see me. #3: an elderly woman plowed into five cars in a parking lot, one of which was mine. She said her foot slipped off the brake and onto the accelerator. I'd like to accept the proposition that women drivers are no worse than men drivers, but my mind won't let me suspend reality on that. People with road rage do things they don't have the stones (or eggs) to do in person. They are contemptible. to do in person;

Every time this motorist encounters a woman driver, he automatically, and sometimes subconsciously, repeats this script, reinforcing the schema until it's ingrained. All objectivity is then lost. From then on, women drivers who drive well are never noticed. They seem not to exist for this motorist because they are not part of his schema. This is the mechanism by which all driving stereotypes are transmitted and maintained:

  • about men versus women drivers
  • about particular ethnic groups with whom they share the road
  • about certain types of cars
  • about the personality of their owners.

Only about 4% of aggressive driving incidents involve women. But when women attack, they use their vehicle as a weapon about 70% of the time, one study determined. In Dayton, Ohio, a woman rear-ended a 59-year-old retired carpenter at a traffic light. Both stopped, but when the man asked for her driver's license, the woman sped away--she was late for a new job, she said. The man said he didn't get out of the way fast enough, bounced onto the hood and was carried along until he rolled off. Her story? A Dayton police detective said the woman told police she drove away because the man appeared angry, and he jumped on her car. In southern California where freeways are a way of life those taking the wheel face a daily barrage of hostility. (From a news story.)


Conventional Morality

As children become adolescents, their sense of morality generally grows into the second phase, called "conventional morality." At this stage we become more conformist internally, not just externally. We comply with regulations out of a sense of loyalty to the social order and we begin to feel guilty if we hurt others or break their trust in us. Most of our witnesses show both preconventional and conventional levels of morality in traffic. Some drivers might speed at all times except when traffic police is in evidence. At the same time they feel ashamed and uncomfortable when other drivers show irritation with some of their maneuvers. Observe the conditions under which you feel these emotions in traffic:

shame, guilt, remorse, embarrassment, regret, fear of injuring someone.

These are feelings which help us stay within the internal bounds of conventional morality. These feelings protect us from overstepping the bounds of decency. They need to be cultivated and encouraged.

Motorists have a constant homeostatic balance to achieve in traffic. On the one hand, we feel impulsed to take care of Number One in this highway war zone. On the other hand, we desire to avoid being a non-caring, opportunistic, weevil with hardly any feelings for fellow human beings. Upon this balance rests our sanity. If we allow our conventional moral feelings to weaken and wither in traffic, we unleash madness on the highways. If we drive too timidly and without self-confidence, we become a hazard and obstruction to others. A moral balance must be reached between self-interest and community support.

Post-Conventional Morality

When we mature fully as adults, starting with the third decade of life, our moral development enters the third or "postconventional" phase which, according to Kohlberg, represents the highest stage that most people will attain for the rest of their lives. In the post-conventional stage of moral development, motorists act out of a sense of inner principle -- responsibility and pride, rather than out of fear of punishment (stage 1) or out of conformity and loyalty to others (stage 2).

In this advanced phase we are more discriminating of the situation, and we tend to adjust our behavior to circumstances. For instance, witnesses recognize that speeding is illegal and dangerous, and consciously condemn it as bad practice. Yet they allow themselves to go above the law when they feel that it's justified. One witness felt that it was all right for him to speed when there was no traffic since he wasn't putting anyone in jeopardy. Similarly, it was permissible to speed along with a convoy since he was just doing what everyone else was doing. Another driver felt it was all right to tailgate motorists who were driving too slow in the fast lane since they were "immorally" blocking the way of others.

Morally mature drivers rely on an inner sense of self-worth as a human being. Conscience dictates behavior, not the fear of punishment or the desire to dominate. Before we can experience altruism we need to feel empathy for people's plight and sympathy for their suffering. Do you see another driver in distress? Let it become a stimulus for your coming to the rescue. Soon your new attitude becomes an automatic response shown as helpfulness and consideration for others.

Motorists who have nurtured a high moral driving IQ are more stable, reliable, and free. They are less subject to pressure by others and maintain their own style of driving in which they strongly believe. They value positive exchanges but they are not swayed by loyalty or approval. Seeing others drive badly, they are not tempted to do likewise but maintain their strong internal convictions. Though they have the right of way, they may still allow another car to go first. They are involved in the human side of the exchange more than in having to make that green light. Moral drivers have learned to accept the fact that they need to take other people's feelings into account. In addition, they are aware that their behavior can have a positive or negative influence on others.

Since these three levels of driving morality exist, we all need to do some honest self-witnessing in traffic to find out our own level. For instance, is your driving persona the same or different when you drive alone or with a passenger? You may be carrying on a secret frenzied lifestyle when driving alone, but you tone yourself down to normal when you have passengers who can observe your reactions. This inconsistency would show that your morality depends on external things such as fear of disapproval, rather than on your own internal principles.


Test Yourself Exercise: What's your Moral Driving IQ?

We asked motorists to list the situations in traffic that caused them to become aggressive drivers and inconsiderate of others. See how many apply to you.

___ When there is heavy traffic in front of me going in the same direction, I weave and try to get ahead.

___ When another car is trying to cross my path or enter my lane, I close the gap to prevent it from entering.

___ When I'm late in getting to my destination, I become less patient and tailgate slow moving motorists.

___ When someone cuts me off and then proceeds to slow down, I feel like hitting that car from the back.

___ When a driver cuts in front of me suddenly, especially without signaling first, I get very nasty thoughts about them.

___ When I'm showing off for friends, I take too many risks.

___ When I'm listening to loud, fast music on my stereo, I drive like I feel.

___ When I drive late at night, I become a speed demon.

___ When I encounter road hugging pedestrians, I feel like pushing them out of my way.

___ When other drivers become aggressive or tailgate me, I slow down to punish them.

___ When I'm surrounded by other automobiles and I get that closed in feeling, I feel like bolting out.

___ When I'm under stress due to work, I get very angry at all the other drivers and take it out on them.

___ When I have problems on my mind and it's hot and people cut in front of me, I want everybody else to get off the road.

___ When a passenger criticizes me, it puts me in a bad mood and I retaliate verbally.

___ When there is an aggressive environment around me and cocky motorists drive recklessly next to me, I get into an angry rebellious mood.

___ When other drivers think that they are the only ones on the road and act carelessly, I start hating them.

___ When cars next to me or behind me do something stupid like signaling and then not turning, I call them bad names in my mind.

___ When others squeeze their cars in front of me and I have to come to a screeching halt, I feel like crashing into them to teach them a lesson.

___ When other people don't follow traffic signals like failing to make a full stop, I lambaste them with terrible words.

___ When I'm in a rush to get somewhere, upset, or frustrated and I feel that it's taking more time than I can afford, I then cut in front of other cars and go through yellow lights.

Note that the things that aggravate us are the very things that we all do. So we're doing it to each other.


e-mail Dr. James

Greening of the Highway

But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and findeth it not. Then he saith, I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man becometh worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this evil generation. (Matthew. 12:43-45).

The psychological cause of aggressiveness is undercut and disappears as soon as we get rid of this orientation of coercion in traffic. Aggressive driving and grossly violent thoughts aren't the result of being late in heavy traffic. They're the result of our culture of power and coerciveness. The sanctification of the highway and the Christianizing of driving will take place as soon as motorists are willing to give up their current commitment to coercion. This self-transformation is especially important to Christians who look to the Lord for inner counsel through the Holy Spirit. The Lord says that we are in this world but not of this world:

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17: 15-17)

Our attachment to the culture of power on highway babylon is a foreign power we ought not to serve. We ought not to conduct ourselves as if we espouse the attitude of babylon, but we ought to espouse the attitude of Jerusalem, as exemplified by the Good Samaritan:

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise ( Luke 10:30-37).


Driver Self-Education

There are two approaches to handling this threat. One is external and relies on surveillance of drivers, enforcement of laws, and punishment of those who are convicted. This approach is necessary but not sufficient since a small percentage of illegal acts are ever caught, and even fewer convicted. In his book License to Kill, Weier proposes that licensing procedures include a "psychological evaluation" to deny a driver's license to people who are likely to be dangerous on the road. But this is not a workable solution because personality tests are not foolproof methods for predicting people's performance in real life situations. Serious injustice would be perpetrated by excluding thousands of drivers who were judged inadequate on the personality "tests," yet would be no more dangerous on the road than those who passed the tests, possibly less.

A more democratic and appropriate approach would be continuing driver self-education to provide for the training of all motorists after they have been licensed. The self-witnessing reports of traffic witnesses clearly show that there's a need for continuous affective, emotional, and motivational training of drivers throughout their careers as motorists. A driving personality make-over is a matter of training the inner person. It must and should remain a voluntary matter. The inner self cannot be coerced because it's spiritually free. We do have moral choices. It's only our outer behavior that can be coerced by others. Inner behavior can only be coerced by the self, and this is a matter of choice and freedom.

When we choose in freedom we always choose what we love or what we desire. But we desire many things, both good and bad, and so we're conflictual. Yet desires are affective components in the self and therefore are arranged in a hierarchy of feelings and motives, some higher, some lower. When we respect and heed our conscience, higher motives have power over lower motives. The reverse is the case when we make it a habit to ignore and silence the voice of conscience. If you decide to become a reformed driver because of higher motives, you will succeed in your driving personality make-over.

As a driver, I want to be a better, more civilized person, an upright citizen, a kinder human being.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)


The Ten Commandments and Driving

Read the passage with the Ten Commandments in Exodus Chapter 20. Ask a friend or family member why it was necessary for God to give us the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, since many countries in ancient times already had such laws on the book: laws against stealing or adultery or bearing false witness. The Code of Hammurabbi already existed for centuries by the time the Hebrews received the Ten Commandments at Sinai. Was it just a duplication of what already existed?

After they give you their answers, suggest to them this one: The reason Jehovah God came down on Sinai and gave Moses the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone inscribed by His Own Finger and Spirit, was to reveal to the World that the these anti-social acts were not merely against human law but against Divine Law. Until the Revelation of Sinai people took these laws to be human made laws. But now God revealed to humankind that these laws against stealing and lying and cheating and murdering were Divine Laws and that if we do them, we break not merely the law of the land, but the Law of Heaven. And this means putting oneself outside of God's jurisdiction, thus outside of God's Presence. This is to deny oneself the road to Salvation that God has provided.

This applies equally to all daily behaviors or situations where we deliberately break the laws of the land, that is, the road regulations that we promise to follow when we apply for and receive a government issued license to drive.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Consider some of the typical driving behaviors that drivers perform out of habit, without even thinking much about it. Tailgating is common whenever a driver is going slower than what the norm is for that situation. Christians ought to examine the morality of tailgating. The purpose of tailgating is to coerce another driver to speed up or to get out of the way. Christians need to focus on the idea of "coercing someone." When is a Christian allowed to coerce, and when is it a sin against the Lord, and thus denies us His Presence with us, therefore our very salvation.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

A Christian soldier in battle is allowed to coerce the enemy by exerting whatever force is necessary to neutralize their ability to harm us. A law enforcement officer is allowed to coerce a prisoner into submission, using whatever force is necessary to accomplish the task. Parents are allowed to coerce their under-aged children (there's some dispute as to the exact age), using whatever force is required to keep them out of danger or harm, or to discipline them to respect legitimate authority and regulations.

Now let's look at situations where Christians would not be allowed to exert force without incurring the guilt of sin, that is, without producing a spiritual separation between self and the Lord, and thus, entering into a state of damnation, that is, becoming unable to be motivated by love and truth, but only by hatred and fantasies.

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38)

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11: 28-30)

A Christian is not allowed to coerce a neighbor into submission by using physical threat or force. If your neighbor makes too much noise at night when you're trying to sleep, it's natural to be annoyed, frustrated, angry, even enraged, especially of it's recurrent and you get the feeling that it's not going to stop. While in this natural state, your mind works to justify your aggressiveness. You argue that you've tried to tell your neighbor about your plight, and failing that, you told police on several occasions, but the noise starts all over again. Your natural mind tells you that it's entirely unreasonable for this neighbor to practice piano at 11 PM, and that it's your right to expect either decency or else, obedience to the city's noise ordinance in residential zones.

So now, feeling justified and enraged, your natural mind plots a scheme. You've already started legal proceedings, but in the meantime there will be weeks, perhaps months of more midnight piano playing. So you take the law in your own hands. You begin fantasizing about how you're going to pay him back. This is the beginning of your personal Fall. The Lord warns us that carrying out the sinful act is not the only way we put ourselves outside His Presence, and that merely thinking about it and purposing the act in our mind is equally sinful, that is, equally effective in separating ourselves from His protection, love, and wisdom. Prudent Christians guard themselves against hostile thoughts of revenge, knowing that such thoughts are forbidden by the Lord because they are evil, that is, destroy our spirit's capacity to receive love and wisdom from the Lord.

Tailgating is an act of aggression against a neighbor. Christians must examine their motive in tailgating and see if their justification is legitimate, or whether it is illegitimate, therefore damning. Similarly with other acts of rebellion against law and order: going through red lights, excessive or compulsive speeding, aggressive driving acts such as denying entry, cutting off, weaving dangerously, and blocking the passing lane.


Sunday School Activities

He says " The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which commit lawlessness; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew,13: 41-42)

1. The Good Samaritan on the Highway: the Lesson

Dear DrDriving:

I was in the right lane going at speed limit, which is how I like to travel. A car in the left lane was also going at speed limit. We were almost parallel, which makes me feel uncomfortable. The people behind in the left lane must have been upset. There was a long line backed up. So I felt like I shouldn't just ignore their plight. I broke my usual rule and sped up quickly. Those drivers were sure relived that they could now pass that obstructing driver on the right behind me. I could tell by the way they were zooming passed that car in a hurry, then switching back into the left lane. I was happy for them. (From a Dear DrDriving Letter)

Let the children read the Good Samaritan story passages (as in Luke 10:30-37). Each child who can read should take turns reading one verse. After the reading, discuss the events, making sure to bring out these points:

(a) the fact that the event took place on a road

(b) the dangers that lurked on roads

(c) the selfish attitude of the priests who passed by

(d) the compassionate attitude of the Good Samaritan.

Let the children learn from this that using public roads carry a Christian responsibility. The road is a place where our Christian duties must be carried out in accordance with the Lord's desires. We must not attack and rob other road users, or hinder their progress in any way. We must act with compassion towards them, and if any one of them encounters trouble or misfortune, it is our Christian duty to help them out in so far as we can. The Lord wants us to express tolerance and friendliness on the road. The law of the road is the Lord's Law, and if you brake it, you're braking the Lord's Law, and thus sinning against Him.

2. The Good Samaritan on the Highway: the Performance

A car was backing out of a parking stall just as I was driving by. I was furious for a second, and felt the impulse of speeding up to it and stopping suddenly to make my tires screech. That should scare him right! But then I calmed myself and approached gradually, staying far enough not to scare or provoke the driver. I felt like I was being good and rational. Nice feeling. (From a Dear DrDriving Letter)

First review the Good Samaritan passage, making sure the children are familiar with it (see Activity 1 above). Now tell them you're going to make a play out of it. Asks who wants to play which role. Be prepared to help them to choose because the tendency for boys is to want to be thieves and robbers, but not the priest or innkeeper, whereas girls want to be the Good Samaritan. Let the children act out each step under your guidance, your active guidance.

After taking care of the mechanics and the children have rehearsed the story enactment a number of times, they're ready to discuss it in deeper detail. Engage them in a discussion and let them formulate the choices that lay open in front of each actor, and the consequences of that choice for good or for bad.

Let the children tell you why Jesus wants us to always choose good and never bad. Be sure to point out and focus on choices:

  • to help someone in distress or not to help (the Good Samaritan makes the right choice because it is from caring or compassion)
  • to make sacrifices such as time, money, and inconvenience (the Good Samaritan does what the situation calls for, even if it means giving up things)
  • to make excuses for ignoring our responsibility (the priests found a way of justifying their un-caring)
  • to shut our hearts so we don't feel empathy for the suffering of another (the priests and other passers by who do nothing to help)
  • to ignore the Lord's Commandment to help one another (it is the Lord who commands us to help, it is not up to our individual preference or mood)
  • to avoid being a hypocrite by speaking well with the mouth but acting bad (the priests who learn about faith and truth from the Word, but ignore the needy placed in front of them by the Lord)
  • to follow through with our responsibility once we begin (checking with the innkeeper and instructing him, offering to pay for the additional expenses)

A Driver’s Conversation With an Angel of the Lord: Part 3

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23).

Things were not going well with my driver self-improvement program. I joined one of those QDCs (Quality Driving Circles) at work but I haven't been going. I think I only went three times since I joined about a year ago. I joined the day after the Angel of the Lord visited me in my car while I was driving home. There happened to be an announcement about it in my Inbox when I checked my morning email. A new group of ten was forming in the department and they needed one more member. I saw it as an omen from Heaven. That one new member they needed--that was me, obviously! The Angel had imbued me with the desire to become a Christian driver. I felt it was my religious duty and my social responsibility.

I missed the first meeting--I forget what it was, maybe a client emergency, I'm not sure. Now I regret the fact that I didn't apologize for my not showing up. I could've easily sent an email note to Bob, who volunteered to act as the group's convenor. But I just didn't feel like it. I don't know--it just felt like I was making too much of it. I didn't feel like elevating this into something of major importance. OK, so I don't show up, no big deal. It's not like I didn't show up for some department meeting.

Ten Musketeers! Look at that clock. I'm twelve minutes late from the usual time. I’m normally past this entrance to the freeway by 7:40 and now it's almost 8. Shoot, darn! And my presentation this morning comes right at the start. Even if I'm five minutes late it'll cause a big ruckus with all the visitors waiting for me to arrive. Man oh man! I've got to get the hell out of this darn lane. It just isn't moving. Look at that lane--I've counted 100 cars passing me in the past 50 yards. Can’t believe it. If only I could just…if only I could just…Hey, there’s my chance.

I was about to execute, meaning that I was going to hop across to the lane on the right. Both lanes were traveling at 75 mph, which was the norm for that section of the highway, but was 20 miles above the legal limit. At this speed, little miscalculations have tragic effects--nationally last year: about 40,000 of our citizens slaughtered like lambs by the butcher killer we call impaired driving. This means being drunk or angry or risky, that is, too drunk to see and judge where you're going, or too angry to back off in a competitive exchange with another driver, or too itchy to take that risk that should not have been taken. These are the killers. And don't forget the 6 million crashes on our roads and streets every year costing us 200 billion in medical expenses, car repairs, insurance premium hikes, lost productivity, and pain and suffering. Yep, 6 million crashes every year, 40,000 deaths every year, and Lord knows how many trillions of individual interactions between drivers that were hostile or aggressive, involving threats and insults. Trillions, no doubt. What is this, highway hell?

Yeah. And what about me? I’m one of them!

(to be continued)


Read Letters

 

Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 03:34:14 -1000
To: "'dyc@DrDriving.org'" dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: Cured of Road Rage

Dear DrDriving,

I ran across your web site this morning and I just wanted to say "thanks" for conducting this survey -- I spend a couple of hours a day commuting between my suburban home and downtown Houston. I've been doing this for 18 years now, and it's appalling just how poorly the majority of people drive their vehicles. In 18 years, I've seen countless accidents, a number of "life-flights", some burned/burning vehicles, some overturned, many crushed underneath trucks, and even two or three sheet-covered bodies lying on the roads. There is absolutely *never* a commute that goes by when I do not see numerous incidents of aggressive driving. I hope your work contributes positively towards a solution to the problem.

I would also like to share something else with you that maybe you'll find useful -- maybe not. There was a time, about 3 years ago when I, too, drove extremely aggressively. I nearly always drove at least 9 miles above the speed limit, and often 15 to 20 miles over. I liked to weave in and out of traffic (testing my driving "prowess") and would easily get angered beyond all reason if someone cut me off or got in front of me (not realizing I was doing the same thing to others). I was known for "flipping people off", blocking them with my vehicle, and even getting enjoyment out of causing aggravation for other drivers. In retrospect, my behavior was appalling. Sometimes, I realized just how bad my behavior was, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't overcome it for more than a day or two. I was truly addicted to this type of aggression -- there seemed to be nothing I could do about it.

Now, I don't know anything about you personally, so I hope my next comments will not offend you or cause you to close your mind to what I'm about to truthfully reveal. About 3 years ago, due in part to the nagging testimony of this "religious" friend of mine, I had an experience -- an encounter, if you will, -- with God for the first time in my life. I won't go into the details of that here -- unless you're interested in hearing more -- if so, e-mail me and I'll be happy to share. But, I can say that one of the amazing benefits that this experience brought into my life was a complete healing of this road rage that I had. What God revealed to me was that my behavior had a much deeper root cause -- arrogance and selfishness. He showed me that I was absolutely no *better* than any other single person that He had ever created and that I should be mindful of that fact in everything I do -- including my driving.

Besides the many other changes in my life, I keep remembering how much my driving has changed since that experience. It didn't happen overnight, but in the course of about 4 or 5 months, every bit of my road rage disappeared. I became painfully aware of what I had been doing to other drivers whom we share the road with. And, as a result, my behavior has been completely changed -- and it's "stuck" for nearly 3 years now. I used to believe that I would probably die on the highway because of my aggressive driving. I no longer have that fear.

It's my belief that it was God Himself that helped me to finally lose this "bad habit" that I had been carrying around (or should I say, "driving around") for more than 20 years. I'm telling you truthfully when I say that I no longer even *feel* angry towards other drivers -- no matter what their behavior. I guess He taught me that when I give in to anger, I'm only letting myself be subject to the very thing that held me in slavery for so many years.

Anyway, for some reason, I felt compelled to share this with you this morning. I hope it is helpful to you, and I will say a prayer that your work will be blessed.

Thank you.

 

From DC@equistarchem.com Tue Sep 28 09:14:22 1999
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 03:44:59 -1000
To: "'dyc@DrDriving.org'" dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: Random Acts of Kindness

Dear Dr,

Here's a random act of kindness that I sometimes do for fellow drivers -- and they don't even know that I'm doing it! Whenever I see someone make a dangerous or aggressive move, I try to remember to say a prayer for them. I ask God to protect them and others on the road, to give them a sense of peace, and to help them get where they are going, safely. I know He is listening and it does a lot of good for my own soul, as well.

Thank you, David

**********************************************************************
From: Leon James  leon@hawaii.edu
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 2:05 PM
To:  David C
Cc: DrDriving Subject:
Re: Cured of Road Rage

Mr. David, thanks for your testimony on how you overcame road rage by allowing God to do that in you. I have a similar story, and many no doubt do. I have posted your testimony, without your name, on my page about the book I wrote called CHRIST AGAINST ROAD RAGE.

If you want me to put your name in, I will. Your testimony fits in well with the message of the book, not only for Christians but for every person who is God fearing.

In the book I have a story called Conversations with an Angel of the Lord in which an angel appears as my passenger on several occasions and reveals to me what a road maniac I am and leads me to repent and change.

My wife Diane had much to do with my change, and she is a God fearing woman and a willing instrument of the Lord. And because I am a psychology professor by occupation, I became DrDriving on the Web and now I'm helping fight road rage and aggressive driving by giving people psychological tools of self-modification. In my other book for the general public called ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING (due out in September 2000), my appeal is not to God or religion, since this would not be successful, but to character, rationality, health, and community--and these are things through which God works also, even if not acknowledged directly.

Take care, David, and I hope to hear from you again! May God open our hearts to His love and our minds to His Word.

Leon James "DrDriving" himself....

DrDriving Says...Pretend you're from Hawaii--Drive with Aloha ***********************************************************************

From Do@aol.com Fri Sep 24 11:02:27 1999
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 14:54:15 -1000
From: Do@aol.com
To: dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: road rage and Christ

Dear Leon,

Thanks so much for your reply. You've helped restore some of my faith in your profession -- I didn't know that any Christian psychologists even existed (just a bit of exaggeration)!

But seriously, I am thankful that you are pursuing this work -- it is SO needed. And I agree wholeheartedly with you about trying to reach non-believers as well -- you're right; when God's laws are obeyed, good results -- even for those who don't know who the Author of the law is.

You have my full permission to use my testimony and my name in your book -- in fact, if you feel it's appropriate, you can publish my e-mail address: David@Truncale.com -- I'm always looking for ways to let others know what God has done for me. I read the synopsis of your book and believe that you have a saleable idea here -- I'll pray that a wise publisher sees it the same way.

Since my testimony has fallen on fertile soil, I'll share just a little more with you. In my young adult years, I was a police officer for the City of Port Arthur, Texas. Needless to say, the many hours behind the wheel, as well as the formal training, gave me a fair degree of driving skills. I also learned, unfortunately, how to avoid speeding tickets. The combination of these experiences and skills let me tear down the freeways of Houston for almost 20 years -- always exceeding the speed limit -- with only a single speeding ticket in all those years. But, I can tell you that I had so many close calls that I just knew that one day I was going to overestimate my ability and wind up on the pavement with one of those sheets over me. Just goes to show that "skills and experience" are not the only things needed to be a good driver.

The last time I purposely exceeded the speed limit, I was stopped doing 110 mph on Interstate 10 in East Houston. I was in a fit of road rage, deluxe. I was trying to catch a lady in a little Ford Probe that had cut in front of me several miles back. We must have been driving at those speeds for 7 or 8 miles before I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw an HPD officer desperately trying to catch up to me! Talk about feeling stupid, shocked, and ashamed all at once! (This was only 2 months after I had prayed to Jesus for forgiveness -- and while I now know that the Holy Spirit was working on me even then -- I didn't really understand it at the time). Anyway, I immediately pulled over and got out of the car. I was so ashamed and so upset with myself -- because it really hit me at that moment how dangerous my actions were -- not only to myself, but especially to the innocent others that I had selfishly and thoughtlessly blown by on the road. I was so visibly upset that I had to tell the police officer that I wasn't angry with him, but with myself. I told him how I had thought I was beginning to get a grip on this behavior and then to be faced with this very present evidence that I had not really changed at all.

He listened to my story and then did the most remarkable thing I've ever seen a police officer do -- he let me go with only a verbal warning! I couldn't believe it -- I had even told him to "write me up for everything he could think of; I deserved it." Since I had previously been a police officer, I was aware how very rare it was to be able to stop a driver doing "triple-digits". In my three years of policing, I had only clocked 2 drivers going over 100; and I was unable to catch either of them. I mean, a triple-digit speeder is like an 18-point buck, or a 14 pound bass, or a grand champion steer! You just don't "let them go"! But that's what this officer did. And, Leon, that was the last day that I ever intentionally sped again. Later, as I recounted this story to a friend, she said "maybe he was an angel." I kind of doubt it, but who knows. But, I do believe that he was sent by God to finally wake me up. And for once, I listened.

It was a little later that God revealed to me why we should obey not only the speed laws, but all the traffic laws. It wasn't only Paul's admonition to obey the law and submit to authorities (Roman 13:1-2), but it was Jesus' command to "love each other". When I really thought about my behavior -- driving included -- I began to realize that I was showing anything but love when I put my self-centered interests ahead of others. I think that's what convicted me more than anything. Because now, it is not just a matter of being a good driver and obeying the law -- it's a matter of truly trying to live in Christ's example -- doing everything I can to bring a little light, joy, and peace to everyone around me -- whether that be in my home, in the office, or on the highway. I can relate to those others who have testified to the good feelings they get when the do a random act of kindness for a fellow driver. I think it's simply the joy of doing God's will.

Leon, I will really pray and hope your book makes it. One of the things that tugs at my heart is to see cars bearing symbols of our Lord whiz by me the same way everyone else does. When Christians behave as the rest of the world, it simply detracts from the beauty of our Lord and absolutely kills their testimony for Him. This is a subject I guess I've "preached" on several times in my Sunday School class -- but not everyone has gotten it yet. Hey, when your book gets published, I'll use it in my class! 8-)

Anyway, thanks for publishing my testimony and my little "act of kindness" suggestion -- feel free to edit them and this contribution as the Lord leads you, and keep up the good work. If I never get to meet you here, I'll surely look you up on "the other side".

Love, In Christ,
David

 

From ss@juno.com
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000
From: sst@juno.com
To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org

Subject: Christians and driving habits

Dear Dr. Driving,

I was delighted to find your web site tonight. I am taking the 4th college course to finish requirements for a permanent certificate for teaching students behind-the-wheel. I do not do any classroom teaching but I want to incorporate some of your ideas into what I do. How do I do that without breaking copyrights?

I have felt for some time that Christians need to examine their driving habits and bring them under the microscope of the Word. I hope your book finds a publisher! I believe Christians are unwilling to let go off their dangerous habits but maybe it is because they don't allow themselves to see it as not loving their neighbors. When my oldest son was 14 it suddenly occurred to me (I guess maybe an angel of the Lord?? :-}) that if I didn't change my habits my kids would drive like I was. I found that when I slowed down to the speed limit that I no longer needed to tailgate, and I had nicer feelings inside towards other drivers. then I began teaching BTW and I really changed my driving!!

Keep up the good work. I think it is great to use a scientific approach to what you're doing. God bless!!

Sharon

 

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