Kari Byron, Mythbuster Mom: New Year’s Resolution and My Drive to the Grocery Store

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KariHelicopter1jpgThe luxury car weaving wildly through traffic, without using a turn signal, just cut me off. While I slam on the brakes, he is looking in his rearview mirror, without apology, to either see if I am mad or just check me out. I am grinding my teeth, trying desperately to hold in the tsunami of expletives and gripping the steering wheel so that my twitching trigger finger does not rise.

“Take a deep breath. His punishment is that he has to be him for the rest of his life,” I say to myself.

I glance in my mirror to see my smiling daughter talking to her bear. The world is mine again.

I think back to my first driving lesson. Not the one when I was 16 and I almost hit that fruit stand. Instead, I’m remembering a time when I was about 5, in the back seat of my dad’s car. A similar situation faced us, but the subsequent reaction was a sort of suburban vengeance. We screeched around the offender’s car and cut him off at a dangerous distance all while my dad flipped the bird. The look of satisfaction on his face was my lesson. Until I had Stella, I might have been tempted to react in a similar fashion. I mean seriously, how satisfying is it to “teach someone a lesson?”

…But does it really? Is the world a better place now? Doubtful.

So here is my New Year’s resolution: I am going to drive like the person I want to be.

Maybe you are how you drive. The luxury car jerk is either an entitled sadist or oblivious to how he disrupts the world, only to get to the light at the same time as the rest of us. That lady in the SUV who breezed through that stop sign and pretends not to see that old man crossing the street with his dog: perhaps a narcissist. She doesn’t have time to wait for a neighbor, but cares enough about what he thinks to stare straight ahead as if she didn’t see him. She did. Then finally, a young girl in a beat-up two-door, slows down and waves me into her lane. Polite and considerate, her little gesture did make my world a better place.

How amazing would the roads and the world be if everyone let you into their lane when you needed to get over? What if a turn signal wasn’t considered an act of aggression? What if we all waited at crosswalks and waved in thanks when someone let us in front of them?

Since I can only control my little world, that is my resolution. I am going to teach my daughter to drive.

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102 thoughts on “Kari Byron, Mythbuster Mom: New Year’s Resolution and My Drive to the Grocery Store

  1. Kari, I love you! You are awesome in so many ways. Reading this really got me thinking about some of my driving habits which are, to put it in PC terms, “typically male”. The next time I’m driving and feel my anger rising at clueless motorists around me, I’ll do my best to remember your words and let it go. Happy New Year. 🙂

  2. Amazing. I am going to share this. You are how you drive. I love this. I’ve got two daughters and find myself doing the same, just teach them to be considerate people through all actions. Radiohead lyric: “We all drive killer cars”.

    Another good one for parents, stop using phones while driving. What phone call is so important you are willing to lower the safety of your kids? It’s tough to just hangup on someone, and you could also take that exit, finish your call, and then get back on the road.

  3. That’s fantastic! I’m normally a very tame driver (I say without ego I’m normally the chick in the beat-up two-door, mostly because I’m scared if I don’t let you people in, your average size car will eat my miniature toyota echo) but I will examine other parts of my life wherein I might have a tendency to over-react. I love this post!

  4. The amazing thing is that this observation is even necessary. The thought that ordinary manners make the world a better place is now virtually radicalism.

    I’ve worked hard to develop manners in my son. The lesson for him (and for that matter, myself) is that other people are significant and important. Every day, his mom and I get complements for his politeness. This may sound self-congratulatory: it is not. I’ve only taught him those things that were EXPECTED not so long ago. A generation or so ago a child would be punished for not doing such things.

    “[Y]ou are how you drive”, is a great observation. It all starts with your attitude toward others. Sadly, our culture elevates “me” and then marvels at road rage..

    1. @Tony- Your son sounds just like mine, his mother and I also get lots of compliments on his politeness, manners and intelligence. We have worked very hard to instill good manners in him throughout his life, though, I must say that I am a “typically male” road-rager when I get behind the wheel. I don’t really do a lot of the dangerous stuff, but I do swear and flip the bird a LOT when driving and other drivers irritate me.

  5. “His punishment is that he has to be him for the rest of his life.” Possibly cruel and unusual, but apt and fitting punishment. And all he has to do to get a lighter sentence is to become a better person.

  6. Kari, you might want to wait until she can reach the pedals. I am teaching my 16 year old son to drive. The first rule I taught him is there is no place in the world that will change much in 30 seconds therefore he doesn’t need to take unnecessary driving risks to save a few seconds. Invariably, stop lights tend to prove that.

    As it is with kids, you may have to repeat that mantra a few thousand times.

  7. Kari,

    I moved to Fort Collins, CO almost 6 years ago now from just north of L.A.

    Unbelievably that is how it is here for the most part. For a college town and a good chunk of the residents being transplants what you describe as utopia is how it is here (most of the time).

    It is expected that if you are at a crosswalk that the cars will stop. If you turn on your turn signal someone will actually slow down to let you in. If you are riding your bike that they will move at least partially into another lane to give you breathing room as they pass you.

    I have seen 4-5 cars stop to offer help when someone elses car breaks down. (and have been one of those stopping on at least a half dozen occasions)

    Jake

  8. Excellent article.
    The only thing that worries me is that if ‘you are how you drive’ I’m in serious trouble – 32 and no driver’s license. 🙂

  9. As an avowed pedestrian of many years, I do my best to wave to every car that stops for me and allows me to cross. I know they don’t get enough recognition as it is.

  10. If only there were more Kari’s in this world, or at least some sort of Kari “Be a more considerate driver” school that douchebag drivers cold be sent to.

    I’m in Scotland, and it’s worrying to see that the stereotypically bad drivers are the same the world over

  11. What an excellent post! As another SF Bay Area driver (in the South Bay), I agree – we should all drive like the people we want to be.

    Hopefully this is a lesson I can still pass on to my daughters (one of whom is a week away from being able to get a learner’s permit)

  12. Love this post! It’s so true – you can tell so much about a person based on how s/he drives. Better than any kind of personality test you’ll find on the internet.

  13. I absolutely loved your post. I’m Brazilian and a father as well and something similar happened to me a couple of weeks ago but ended up in a collision. The lady in the fancy car refused to call her insurance company so I’m suing her unfortunately. Arrogance and selfishness are not the solution. Here in Brazil I also think people are too selfish in traffic. A little respect and politeness doesn’t hurt and favors everyone.

  14. Awesome words Kari! Simply Awesome!
    And a sentiment I will carry forth myself. There are times when I am drving when that compeditive spirit rises, and that “me First” wants to drive. Thats the best time to sit back and quote Han Solo “I dunno, Fly Casual…”. Being the example is the best way to teach your kids, and they will pick it up from an early age.

  15. I think a part of what you experienced, Kari, was the fact that you’re driving in the Bay Area. It’s notorious for having rude drivers.
    Back in 2001, just a few days after the attack on the World Trade Center, I was driving in the Bay Area. I had just driven cross-country from Little Rock, Arkansas returning from a business trip. Since the airports were all closed, I had decided to drive back. All the way across the country, every driver I encountered on the road was polite and kind. We all understood that we were feeling the effects of the attack, and were taking extra care to be good to one another.
    Until I got to the Bay Area.
    The drivers there were just as rude and uncaring of their actions as they’d ever been. It was a real shock to encounter that less than a week after 9/11.

  16. Good post, Keri. I do not pretend to be an exemplary driver but I know I got better after going to Bad Driver School (speeding ticket). Not the fear of getting another ticket, but this lesson: other drivers are just another hazard, and our job is to drive so as to avoid them. No use teaching a falling rock a lesson? Ditto the average jerk.

  17. Wow, I could cry after reading this. Right now I’m probably more like your dad. I get serious road rage except for the dangerous driving part. While I have cut out any bad language since having kids, I still haven’t cut out the bitching at the other driver. I’m with you though, I will teach my kids better. But first I need to start with myself and that’s seems harder. I am a conscientious driver and try to be polite, but I often still snap at the idiot who almost ran us off the road. Let’s all make this one of our resolutions and watch the impact of it spread. I will have a post about this on my site soon. Hope you’ll read it.

  18. Love this! I am going to have my 15 yo read this too. She is eager to drive but this is super smart life advice too.

    Happy New Year!

  19. I feel like printing this as flyers and posting them all over Boston. Except that would require the impatient, obnoxious jerk drivers to pause long enough to read.

  20. How well said!!!! So often people feel isolated and insulated in their vehicles. Would they shove a little old lady out of the express line at the grocery store, or elbow in front of a mom with her kids at the bank teller? Probably not. Although I’ve know a couple of people that would; if they thought they could get away with it…!

    I also REALLY agree with Ken’s comment on using cell phones. As I drive my 100+ miles commute every day, better than 9 out of 10 erratic drivers have their ear glued to a cell phone. Erratic can mean anything from varying speed for no reason to half-way in my lane. Not that it’s MINE, per se, but that whole physics thing of two objects not being able to occupy the same space at the same time!

  21. Awesome Words of wisdom. not everyone is considerate so continue to drive safely and in a happy world rather then stooping to a inconsiderate driver’s level to teach them a lesson.

  22. Wow…
    It never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn from Mythbusters.

    Thank you, Kari, for that… driving lesson for all of us!

    Sincerely,
    the slydog

    🙂

  23. Kari! Love ya babe but let’s put a little existential spin on this post.

    The man in the luxury car… A neurosurgeon concerned about a patient (maybe someone in your own family) and therefore preoccupied. The SUV mommy… Just received a call from her child’s school (ironically her daughter is also named Stella) Stella has been performing poorly in class and mom has been called into a conference and she is so nervous she is not being her normal courteous self. And finally the young gal in the 2-door… What seems to you as a nice gesture is completely self serving, as she allows you to pass because she is too busy typing out death threat texts to her ex who left her because she refuses to watch MuythBusters!!! Love the show, love your quirk. Hava nice day… Chris 🙂

  24. Thanks for this Kari! I live in a college town with drivers form all over the world. I get stressed when I drive & I called someone a dummy today & my 3 year old son repeated me. I need to remember I’m teaching him this by acting this way as I drive. I really needed some mommy advise today!

  25. Thanks for this Kari! I live in a college town with drivers form all over the world. I get stressed when I drive & I called someone a dummy today & my 3 year old son repeated me. I need to remember I’m teaching him this by acting this way as I drive. I really needed some mommy advise today!

  26. when your girl gets older. let her get into auto racing. start with go-karts and move up as the age goes up.

    when you learn to control a car at high speeds at a race track its amazing how much you carry over into street driving. while you may only be going 55 on the streets your watching everyone.

    dirt track racing master that and you can laugh in the face of snow and ice and slick roads

  27. If drivers could only remember the message of the movie “Pay it Forward,” which is also a biblical principle. Galatians 6 reads (in part), “A man reaps what he sows. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…” I try to be courteous on the road and have discovered that, most of the time, other drivers are courteous to me too. Love Mythbusters and glad to have you back on the show Kari.

  28. Insigthful and point well taken. But I cannot help but to observe that this comes from the girl who plays with big guns and various explosives! If that guy only knew who he was messing with! Territorial aggression aside, your observations do make for a more tranguil existance and I applaude your restraint. But still those images of the girl in the summer dress, at home with her mini-gun, in the Arizona Desert, spent shells spewing all about… Easy to be passive when you play with such toys. Create a nice day!

  29. I think a lot of folks fail to realize how much their children learn from the back seat of the car. Gee, why does my teenager always test my limits? Perhaps it is because you taught them when they were younger that you can drive 10 MPH over the speed limit and get away with it, that “Stop” signs apparently mean “slow down” (or, at best, “yield”), and that almost any rule can be broken, so long as you don’t get caught. We have a whole society whose morality is based on “what can I get away with?” rather than doing what is right because, perhaps, it is simply the right thing to do.

    Below are a few quotes I think fit this subject…

    Without retaliation, evils would one day become extinct from the world.
    -Igbo proverb

    We each do the best we can, within our level of awareness.
    -anonymous

    It is easy to romanticize the tolerance we expect others to show us.
    -anonymous

    Expect the best of people, and they will give you their best.
    Expect the worst of people, and they will never disappoint you.
    -anonymous

    Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance.
    -Hanlon’s Razor

    —–
    Thanks for the great write up, keep up the good work, both as a Mom and a Mythbuster!

  30. I can relate to Kari. I feel like teaching every bad or inconsiderate drive a lesson but the world wouldn’t be a nice place if I did. We should relax and be aware of our surroundings. It’s hard to forget about a driver who cut you off at the moment but if we just take a deep breath, we can forget about it as soon as we park our cars.

  31. if “you are how you drive” then in my experience as an avid pedestrian, an avid cyclist, and an occasional driver, most of the US are criminals. i am sure if anyone who has had a license thinks back they will find that at least once they have ; sped, changed lanes without a signal, ran a red, ran a yellow, or committed some moving violation (this to include passing through a crosswalk while it is occupied by a pedestrian even if the pedestrian is clear of your vehicle).

    i agree that if we had more courteous drivers the world would be a lil better but i think we first need to have drivers that can drive within the confines of the law before we work on courtesy.

  32. That reminds me of the scene in ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’. Kari did the right thing. The satisfaction of being a good person outweighs the satisfaction of cutting someone off and flipping the bird.
    Very inspirational.

  33. I have a theory on this subject. You can examine how “nice” a population is based on it’s driving habits. Where else are you so close to so many people that you have to trust your life to? Generally, there are three types of drivers. One, the person that thinks his time is more important than everyone else’s. That would be Mr. luxury car. Second is the person that looks forward only and is either so focused on the road or a motor vehicle zombie. These zombie people don’t notice turn signals, merging traffic, or anything in their mirrors. The third is the polite and often courteous driver that recognizes a situation and reacts with kindness.

    While visiting other cities, I try to count how many of each of these types of drivers I can spot. My hypothesis is that this a how people treat their own lives and thus reflects how nice a population is using this subset.

    Okay, nerdy I know but I think it is pretty accurate.

    Your resolution benefits not only your daughter and others around you but should reduce the amount of stress you experience. Everyone wins! Let’s hope more people adopt your driving practices.

    Happy New year!

  34. Nice idea, but the problem is the idiot in the luxury car that cut you off did it precisely because he knew he could get away with it.

  35. As someone who has to drive for my job I can totally agree with you Kari. I am also in the middle of teaching my 17 yr old son how to drive. Hoping that he has absorbed some of what he has seen over the years of me NOT being like that rude driver. Not saying I never get angry. I have on occasion said a few choice things but never act on them just grumble to myself.
    Always living with the hope that at some point they may get pulled over and ticketed before they do someone an injury!

  36. I realized years ago that the energy I spent cursing at the people cutting me off, speeding past me, weaving in and out of the lanes, and otherwise appearing to be a jerk, was wasted energy. I mean, do I really want to give up my personal power to something that trivial? No, not really. I’d rather focus my energies on things more important to me. What movie will my wife and I like to watch next, when will I be able to talk to my sister, what’s for dinner?

    Folks, give up being judgemental. Convincing yourself over and over that you’re right, and everyone else is wrong, is exhausting. Relax, and enjoy your journey.

  37. As the parent of a special needs child, I’ve always driven cautiously. Going back and forth to lots of therapy sessions puts a lot of mileage on the car. I’ve seen some amazing things on the road and have been involved in a two minor accidents (other guy not paying attention) with my child in the car. Luckily we were not hurt, but the first response from other drivers was to immediately get out and start yelling at me. I would explain that I have a child with autism in the car and to please stay calm so he would not be upset. Didn’t matter to either one. It’s difficult enough to deal with an accident situation when there are cool heads. My son learns from other people’s behavior and these people are the “Here’s what you don’t do ” lesson I use.

    Common courtesy is missing. Drivers’ Education is not provided in high schools anymore with our severe budget cuts in school districts everywhere. I’m old enough to remember when the neighborhood policemen would come to our high school to show us driving techniques after we studied at least a weeks worth of information about responsible driving. Does anyone remember seeing “Signal 30” in class? One scary movie about the real dangers of inattentive driving does wonders with a teenager’s sense of immortality.

    We’ve already raised a generation of inattentive drivers. Now we are seeing their children hit the road with cell phone chatter and texting. They’ve already developed bad habits from parents who don’t know any better – now we’ve added technology to the mix.

    Our only hope is to create a grid system that drives for us because we’re too stupid to do it safely ourselves.

  38. “You are how you drive”.

    You reminded of a long ago Ex. While driving my car, he suddenly announced the great revelation that had just struck him. “Men” he declared, “drive the way they have sex!” I started to giggle. “What?”

    “You just blew through a stop sign.”

    John V. was a sweetheart of the first degree, but he was frequently oblivious to social cues. Particularly in regards to relationships and friendships and how they related to sexuality. So, he often missed cues that *maybe* he was taking things further than the other person was comfortable. Never to be mean, if you out right said, stop, or that’s too much, he would be horrified that he had made you uncomfortable. But, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t miss the cue the next time.

    “You just blew through a stop sign.”

    I guess he was right.

  39. Kari, your resolution had meaning for me. I, unfortunately, was somewhat of that retaliatory driver like your dad. I remember when we lived in the Bay area, my 4 year old telling me to hurry, a car was about to pass us. Now I’m teaching those kids to drive in the DC Metro area and wish there were polite drivers out here. What they have to face as a new driver scares me. Experiencing this is causing me to become that polite driver you are becoming. Wish it would have happened earlier.

  40. Have you ever noticed how many of those bad drivers are wearing hats? I swear the hat interrupts the brain waves or something. When my husband and I see bad drivers, we’re always checking to see if they’re wearing a hat – and about 90% of the time they are! Now if we see a hat we anticipate bad driving, and we drive defensively around them. (Maybe this is one for the Mythbusters!)

  41. amen to that! i always believe that the way a person drives can show a lot about the person’s character.

    and seriously, using the turn signal does not seem technically difficult but it seems beyond the intelligence of many drivers out there. but what is more irritating and perhaps more telling of a person’s character is when he/she sticks a palm out the window telling you to stop. it’s like… uh, are you a traffic cop? the queen of england or president obama? a simple signal and i’d let you in, but telling me to stop as if you’re somehow more important… *sigh*

  42. I just started working a later shift which allows me more time to get to and from work so I can set my cruise control and not worry about having to brake or speed up in traffic. I tried to drive at 65 when I worked day shift but it is impossible to do in the bay area. Everybody else is either going 55 or 75. I would end up losing my patience with the 55ers because so many of them drive in the left lanes and joining the 75ers. I feel much better now when I reach my destination.

  43. While I applaud the sentiment of driving politely, I have trouble identifying with the need to do so. I live in the South, where the vast majority of the time, people do let others in front of them and wave to other drivers or pedestrians. This type of courtesy has been bred into us, and reading a post like this makes me feel a bit sad for the rest of the country who apparently lives amongst the rudest people on the face of the earth. Y’all are always welcome for a visit if you are ever in need of some good ole Southern Hospitality, on the road and off!

  44. Actually, I’m from small town Iowa, and it is pretty close to that, you always wave to the farmers and the amish, I walk everywhere and more times then not cars will stop at a green light and wave me through the cross walk.

    Wow, I’m usually bashing Iowa, but I guess it does have it’s good points too. Thanks for sharing Kari. 🙂

    1. Well now, as i read all about it. It just so happens i was on the other end of this situation, but still a victim of ruidness. As i was headed home the other night,i come apon a slow moving semi. So i signal to change lanes and a Chevy Suburban speeds up to keep me from moving over. So to show the Suburban that being ruid can back fire,i switched lanes and what do you know. The driver changed their attatude after the Suburban swerved to avoid me.
      Was it road rage ? Nooo !!! Was it me being in a hurrry ? nope !!! It was lack of sleep on my behalf. I do believe MythBusters did a seagment on that, & i think it needs to be redone.
      I have stayed up 36 hours straight & it was nothing like MytheBusters portreyed, much worse & scarier then they showed.I know this because i drive tired all the time,i would even challenge MytheBusters to redo of that seagment.

  45. Hi Kari
    Excellent post !! You are so right !! I don’t claim to be a “perfect Christian” (whatever that may be: I haven’t been to church in years), but have people forgotten the “Golden Rule” ?? I have a slightly different perspective. At the moment I am “car-less” so I get to my “on-call part-time” job by walking. To make things even more “interesting”, most of the way, I am actually walking on the side of the road because there are no sidewalks. Amazingly, most of the drivers here in Jackson, MI are more than willing to share the road with me. My way of encouraging “good” behavior, is I salute (with a big grin) every driver who either slows down, or goes towards the middle of the road to go around me.

  46. This is perfect 🙂 Love it!
    Goodluck with your resolution. You will definitely need it.

  47. I have driven in San Francisco and as bad as it is there, it’s twice as bad here in Utah where I am now. I actually sometimes find myself wishing the drivers here were as considerate as those in California (scary, right?). In the past, I have probably driven both like the guy in the luxury car and like your father in your story, but what I came to realize is that nobody benefits. In reality, the guy in the luxury car got to his destination MAYBE up to a minute faster than he would have in reality. I just realized that risking lives is not worth shaving a few seconds off your arrival time, no matter the destination. Retaliation is even worse because not only are you driving like a jerk but you’re angry and distracted besides. I love you on Mythbusters and I appreciate this post, Kari. It feels good to know that others out there are trying to change their driving habits for the better as well, even celebrities like yourself.

  48. Very intelligent piece of writing and an excellent resolution especially when you must drive in the SF Bay Area. (I used to commute from San Jose to Oakland daily) Kari’s right on the money and sharing the most important lesson of all with us. Raise our kids the right way and realize they are watching and see everything we do even when we think they are not.

    By the way, you are no geek. You are a major league babeasaurus

  49. There are rude ignorant jerks everywhere. I too fight the urge to retaliate. (With help from my wife/conscience.) But I do find that in the smaller towns and flyover country this behavior is significantly more rare. Big fan.

  50. Sorry, didn’t mean to cut you off. And yeah, I was basically checking you out in the mirror.

  51. What wonderful advice for everyone. Not just us working geek moms, truly everyone. Congrats on learning the lesson now to teach what you want the kids to do. Being considerate is not just an “old time value” it is a current day value and unfortunately one that is not as easily come by as we would hope. Teach your children how you want them to behave by behaving that way yourself, not just driving but everywhere. One child at a time we can make the world better.

  52. What a lovely thought, “be the change you wish to see”. My NY resolution as well this year. 🙂

  53. These bad drivers I’m hearing about with the speeding and cutting off and flipping back and forth through the lanes……..sounds like 90% of police all over the world. Those of you that slow down on a freeway in California with people behind you to let someone over are just as dangerous as those that are speeding and cutting through lanes, not to mention it is also illegal to do so in California. Driving safely is a good idea, but when people go overboard to the point of going no faster than 10mph under the speed limit and slamming their brakes on oj the freeway because someone a half a mile in front of them tapped their brakes? That is dangerous and I hate you for it. Just follow the traffic laws for the area and keep your eyes open. Oh and btw, why would your rear-view mirror be positioned so that instead of seeing behind your car you see into the back seat? That is unsafe distracted driving as well! Just as bad if not worse than driving while on a phone or driving drunk!

    1. “rear-view mirror be positioned so that instead of seeing behind your car you see into the back seat? That is unsafe distracted driving as well! Just as bad if not worse than driving while on a phone or driving drunk!”

      Just a thought in reply to your assumption that her rear view mirror is positioned to view the back seat… either she has the rear view mirror at an angle so that she can see both out of her rear window as well as into the back seat, or she might have one of the those extra mirrors that attach so that you can check on your children in the back seat (which is a lot safer than turning your head around, looking over your shoulder). Don’t assume the worst… get the details first.

  54. I have been to alot of places around the world. Worst I seen is south Europa, the island is very bad, on one of them the police have giving up controling traffic and just ask ppl to drive better.

    Best place I seen english part of cananda, their even stop to let you cross where there is no crossing.

  55. Guys, you might all want to follow Kari’s example. Studies show that your kids will copy your driving style way more than that of their friends, or anything their long-suffering driving instructor can try to teach them. And I should know – I’m a long-suffering driving instructor!

  56. Heres a night i wont forget!

    While driving towards my husbands work on new years eve, i t-boned a drunk drver while he was making a left turn.
    a little more to the story is…
    i was heading down a one way road and this guy stops his car at the end of his driveway. Thinking to myself he stopped i took my foot off the break and started to accelerate back to 50 km (im canadian btw :D) then he bolted out of his driveway and went left on the one way street. I nailed him!
    the whole time from me hitting him and from him getting out of his car was nothing but him screaming at me. thank god there are angels after christmas because the guy behind me grabed me out of the car and asked if i was ok? and went up to the drunk driver and asked what kind of an idiot makes a turn on a one way street right into traffic? the drunk driver was adimate that it was all my fault and i need to watch where i am driving, he slurred everyword. You could smell the aclohol on his breath from 10 meters away.
    The man who helped me walked up to the man and said “I am an officer of the law and your underarrest!”
    not sure how to finish because shortly after that i woke up in the hospital.
    I have a new years resolution just not sure how to word it, but i now look at life diffrently from that night.

  57. Well written! I used to drive a lot (+25K/yr) and I have seen both sides. When I feel myself getting frustrated at other drivers I try to put myself where they are. Am I driving like an idiot? If the answer is ‘yes’ than I need to change. I cannot make the traffic better or stop the jerk driving too fast. I can calm down and enjoy music, the scenery or if someone is in the car, conversation. I do not have to be affected by foolish drivers.

    I think we all need to have this as a new years resolution, and maybe by next year it will just be a habit.

  58. So when you were 16 you “nearly” hit a fruit stand – and later on in your career you got to see what would have happened if you had hit it!

  59. Good on ya, Kari. Narcissism…yup…it’s everywhere. Maybe it’s natural, but I can’t help but think if people really thought about what they did, or realized how little time they’re actually saving pushing to go faster, they’d modify their behavior, as you are.

  60. Well said! I moved to a much smaller town three and a half years ago, and have only been home a couple of times since then. I just got back here a few weeks ago and have been really taken aback at how aggressively people are driving here. And thinking back to times I drove that way too. So, your post comes at an interesting time when I’ve also been thinking, “I refuse to give in to that behavior.” It does no one any good if we all get more and more aggressive in the way we drive, it just causes more stress and more accidents.

  61. Kari: I liked your blog it. Your blog was not only very well written speaks very well of the for it’s self. As a disabled person who sole means of transportation is a powerchair. I know all to well how very ugly it can get out there and I have to not deal with it multiple times a day do so with out any real protection. I get sick and tired of drivers who think a fancy car buys them the right away and the the right to be rude to all others. I do everything I can I ride my powerchair as deffensively as posible being as careful as I can yet even still I have multiple close calls a day. Usually by idiot drivers that blast thru the cross walk while I am still in it. Never mind the the law says a pedestrian has legal right away curb to curb no exception. That means the drivers have to stop and wait until the podestrian is safe on the other curb. Sad thing is those idiot drivers just blast thru pretending not to see you or if the do they simply don’t care. another thing the law says that the driver claiming they didn’t see some one no excuse. cause the law says the driver should have seen them period. I had this one so called elderly christian woman screem at me as she missed by a few inches – that she wouldn’t be responcibile if she mowed me down cause it would be gods will.- I won’t tell you what I think of that remark my response is not worth repeating. except I am proud to be a pagan. OK what part of this is a human life crossing the street don’t those idiot drivers under stand. . Yet I see daily people that care more about their dog or the cellphone thats seem to be glued to their ears. Excuse me but people driving with your elbow is something I should not ever see and I see this all to often it is not safe nor is it legal. Few of you out there can imagin the pure shear horror of getting hit by a car because the driver was an idiot and at fault. I can three times over the first time put me in a chair for life and left me with seizures and migrains. The psychological toll has been allot worse, because of the first accident I now live in darkness no other way to put it. I have been forced to go on prescription sleep meds strong enough to keep me from dreaming otherwise my nightmares are suicidel or hellish it has also forced me to change my diet as well. to go vegetarian. because I have found that hormones american meat makes my seizures and migrains worse. on top of that even though I am on a really good migrain medication. I still end up having some migrains few can Imagin what it is like to have pain so intense that you have no choice but to scream just to try to get vent fustraition of it, I do it is a part of my life. People need to realize when they get behind the wheel of a car it is just like a gun it could be a human life if you are not careful. I live my life moment by moment doing for my self the best I can. how ever these days I try push the thought out of my head. That every time I head out the door that this will be my last day one earth. Cause of some idiot driver just didn’t care. Rather I try to enjoy each day the best I can

  62. Hi Kari, I have been a coast to coast truck driver for 18 years (2.5M career miles) and was a police officer 10 years prior to that. Two things that I have learned about drivers, no matter how many wheels on the vehicle, is that (1) their impatience gets them into the most trouble the quickest and (2) a little courtesy goes a very long way.

    Big Fan/

  63. I grew up Driving in Chicago…. I found very quickly that everyone in Chicago in a car wants to kill you. They cut your off, run lights and the like. There are only two types of people on foot in Chicago Pedestrians on sidewalks and targets in the street. They will actually speed up and angle towards you if you are in the street. The only reason you can cross at a red light is you have strength in numbers. “They can’t kill us all” is the mentality.

    Then I moved to central Ohio…. I got three speeding tickets in the first 6 mos. and nearly killed every day. I tried to figure out why I was having such a hard time, I mean I actually got waved through 4 Way stops and people were generally nice.

    But then I figured it out. In Chicago they want to kill YOU. In Central Ohio they want you to kill them…. so they jump out in front of you, and wave you through…plus only half of them are nice. Which ones you can’t tell by looking.

    So…sure I was in fear for my life every day in Chicago…but at least I knew what people were going to do. :->

  64. That’s the attitude everyone in life should take and not just when it comes to driving. If everyone was a little more considerate of others and not just themselves the world would be a better place and future generations would have something to look up to.

    Anyway, I applaud your forgiving nature and self restraint. Now if there were only a way you could all children/teenagers to drive.

  65. My daughter will be 16 in May. Fortunately I have been doing this with her and her brothers for a few years now. I make comments like, “If we just wait patiently, the traffic will clear.” or “Don’t worry about the people behind you, just wait until you can go safely.” I guess I’ll find out in May if it has had any effect.

  66. Karma, baby. Karma!

    If I get agitated and the finger gets itchy… I just remember Karma is a fierce and consistent master.

  67. Kari, what a wonderful way to think. I was told by my father when I was a young boy, The Best Way To Keep Someone From Getting Your Goat, is by not letting them know they got it! And just smile 🙂 More times than not they will not bother you, you will have defused the issue, and you are the better example.

  68. Try driving in Denmark, I think you would be pleasantly surprised, I recognise what you’re describing from when I had to take long drives down through Europe, the first time really made me realize how silly kind and good we all drive back at home. (Denmark)

    What we consider rude, and annoying in our day to day drives to the store/work/School, is just nothing compared to other countries.

  69. I just love the comment “His punishment is that he has to be him for the rest of his life” but sadly our punnishment is that we have to put up with people like that and they are everywhere we go even down here in Oz.

  70. This reminds me of a sign that hangs in the lodge at the Girl Scout camp my daughters went to. It said, “A girl is watching you. What is she learning?”

  71. Kari, you need to do like me: Drive a Taxi cab for a few months. OK, maybe a few days.

    I’m an Arab immigrant with a masters degree, who did not find any job on my first arrival, except driving a taxi.Now I’m a Casino Executive over 1400+ employees. That Taxi driving job have hammered my feelings, and numbed my road rage (and job rage) for ever. Try driving 14 to 16 hours a day in New York City, and you’ll never lose your cool again for the rest of your life.

    Really, try it

  72. I noticed that when my grandfather, a product of the ’50s in England, drives, he’s always thanking people with a wave for not pulling out of a right-hand (would be a left over here) in front of him. It always struck me as odd, to thank people for obeying the rules; Y’know, probably the kind of thing more people need to be doing. So many forego the rules, it’s nice to see someone being pleasant on the roads.

  73. Kari What I have been wondering is if & how do a lot of people get their drivers licenses? It seems very few people can merge into traffic! I even saw a cop stop at the start of a merge lane that he was turning into!Don’t they even teach what the lane is for & how to us it? It kills me when people need 3 car lengths at a stop light blocking access to the turn lane. Don’t even get me startted on cell phones & make up! There are times that we all could use a Stella moment when driving & just smile & shrug it off!

  74. The magical world of polite drivers and pedestrians you just described is called ‘Canada’. I live there. It’s pretty great.

    Excuse me while I take 5 seconds out of my day to feel better than a Mythbuster. It beats the usual crushing inadequacy by comparison.

  75. I live in New Zealand and have drivers pull out into the road in front of me without indicating all the time. They also frequently tailgate me even when I’m going at the speed limit of 50kph. They often don’t indicate correctly on roundabouts or when they pull over to the side of the road. They regularly don’t let pedestrians cross at the traffic lights before turning (even though our road code says pedestrians have the right of way). I could go on…
    It’s just as well I’m a patient person, otherwise I’d be swearing at other drivers more than I already do. 🙁
    Kari’s resolution is one we should all follow!

  76. i live in south florida and every body lets you infront of them but no one lets you in to the next lain they speed up so you cant get over

  77. This actually happened to me this morning on my way to work. . .at Discovery, where Mythbusters lives! Traffic in the DC region is, to say the least, horrible. Last night it took me 45 minutes to go 3 miles. I thought I was going to implode. And with my young son in the back, innocently watching Elmo, he was witness to my lost temper this morning. Jerk in SUV, talking on cell phone (illegal in MD) almost hit me while jetting across two lanes of traffic to get into my turn lane. I tooted my horn and cursed up a storm, because he did not see me and I was not in the mood to be side swiped. And when he glanced back in his side mirror to see me glaring at him, he gave ME the finger and continued to talk on his cell.

    I also made a promise this year to drive with more caution and patience to teach my son that there are ways to get to where you are going without being an ass. But today, that jerk really got to me.

  78. We live at the top of a residential hill with an elementary school down one side & a middle school down the other. Parents (mostly moms) went flying over the hill in their SUV & minivans, so a stop sign was put in at the top of the hill just in front of our home. I was apparently foolishly optimistic that it might make it a bit less risky to back out of our driveway; it is honored more in the breach than the observance. I am continually amazed that no children have been hit in the 16 years we have lived here. And you know those speeding moms (including women I personally know and have seen blow through the stop sign) would be among the first to express outrage if it did happen. Sigh. Thanks, Kari, for starting the conversation. (And for ‘singing’ with my husband at LDRS last June.)

  79. What an awesome new years resolution.

    In the same vain I have created a “positivity challenge” to help make our world a better place by challenging people to be positive and do positive things. If your interested you can find out more here: http://wp.me/PhDXb-9Z

    This isn’t intended to be spam, just trying to add to the positive flow of this topic and fast track our world to being a better place. 🙂

  80. It’s amazing how quickly that little birdee wants to fly while driving even if we never used it before… I did see my mom let it fly a lot.

    I love your resolution…

    PS my kids love you…

  81. You have not lived until you tried crossing a street in the country of Jordan. There, it is suicidal if you attempt to cross the street… literally. To get across from Hotel to store, you have to cross what looks like a freeway with no islands. The cars go 50 mph. It is suicidal. I decided to stay on my side of the road and instead went to another store that was further away, but didn’t have car traffic to get too. (Very long blocks and “dead end” roads are your friend.) the roads might not have actually been dead ends per se, but at least didn’t have anything down there that people wanted to get too. Drivers rarely turned left or right. it was really strange.

  82. Hi Kari, thanks for sharing. I have to drive the inner city roads of Sydney Australia, with my kids every day, I struggle with my temper and find it hard not to give into doing a ‘dad’ when it seems that everyone else is. I realized my girls were saying things like “get past him” and getting excited when I would accelerate. They have shown me clearly that a message is transferred by what I do rather than what I would like them to see. So, I try my best! Harder as they get older and smarter. XS

  83. I recently got a new job that changed my commute to one that’s the same direction everyone else is going, at the same time-traffic. I decided that I would always leave space for others to be able to get in front of me, and generally not behave like its going to make a difference if I get to my destination a few car lengths quicker. I decided that I would not get upset or angry about traffic. Someone asked me “can you really decide that?” Yes! Now, if I am in traffic, I use it as an opportunity to study patterns of traffic flow of different lanes, progress of that car weaving in and out of lanes, people watching, etc. An attitude adjustment, combined with fresh tunes, makes a world of difference to my stress level.

  84. I live in Minnesota where our state saying seems to be, Minnesota Nice. Well if you’ve ever driven here you know that MN Nice goes right out the door and we seem to become either MN Mean or MN Stupid! So, I feel for you Kari! Thank God that you and your precious one came out of it without a scratch and it was that rude drivers lucky day that you didn’t kick his behind right out of town!

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