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Additional Explanations for Scene 1

If you are in the yellow car and stop for the red car to make a left turn, that is safe and polite and supportive. You are acting in a way that says, "I see what you're trying to do and I'll stay out of your way so you can do it."

But if you wave the driver through you are taking on more than just being supportive. By waving you are taking charge of the situation. This is a manager's job, or a director, or a police officer, or a road crew flagman's job. For this job you need additional responsibilities and skills. For instance, take a look at the white car in the diagram. It's coming on directly into the intended path of the red car that you are waving through.

Notice that the driver in the red car may not be able to see the white car coming since the green car is partially blocking the view.

So you are taking on the responsibility of watching out for the red car you are waving trhough so it doesn't collide with the white car coming on. If they should collide, you are partly responsible. Your waving the car through has made you a contributing factor in the collision, if there is one.

Waving the car through may seem like a supportive and friendly act, but it turns out that this is only an appearance. In actuality, it is a risky act and may be motivated by selfish rather than altruistic motives. For instance, you might wave the car through because you are in a hurry, or impatient, or you desire to take charge of situations and tell others what to do when it's not your job. We need practice in recognizing the reasons we do things behind the wheel, as explained here.

Whatever the actual reason, you can see that it's better not to wave. But what do you do instead?

On the outside it looks like you're just waiting. You need to manage your appearance so that it doesn't look like you're being impatient or upset. You can avoid putting on the pressure by making your face look pleasant rather than disturbed or hostile. You can possibly look over to the white car and back to the red car, as a kind of warning, but do not move or show your hand. Or you can just look steadily ahead, or towards the red car. If there is eye contact with the driver of the red car, make it brief and neutral. The attempt to engage in a dialog, gestural or verbal, is a risky thing to do because communication is ineffective at a distance and the situation is tense so that your gestures or words can easily be misconstrued as something negative or hostile. Read these road rage stories reported in the press and you'll see how violence can erupt when drivers take each other's gestures as a hostile act.

 
This Page is the Additional EXPLANATIONS for Scene 1.
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Dr. Leon James
1997