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A humble call for some civility

Thu, 04 Oct 2012

I made an all-too-rare appearance at my local gym the other day. I could tell it was too rare because people looked genuinely surprised to see me. Got there around 7 a.m. Did a half hour of weights and a half hour on the elliptical machine—better than nothin', I figured. Then I drove home to shower and change for work.

At 7 a.m., on the way there, and again at 8, on the way home, I was surprised how many cars were on the road. I was even more surprised by the rudeness of the other drivers.

More than once, I got cut off by drivers diving into the traffic line ahead of me. I was piloting a new BMW M5 wearing a $100,495 sticker—yikes!—so I was not about to start getting all aggressive/stupid and ding it. Senior road test editor Natalie Neff would have my hide, as she should.

So I braked and let them cut in line. Never even got a thank-you wave. No nod. No nothing. Crickets.

Then: You know how you're driving on a side street and there are cars parked on the side? You encounter oncoming traffic. There's not room for both cars to pass. I pulled over, came to a stop, and let the other guy by. Three times I did this. Totally not a big deal—except, again, no wave. No nod. No gesture of thanks.


Are we all that crabby? Is that too much to ask that we be a little more polite on the road? I get that it was early-ish in the morning but still. . . .

Being the modern, new-age guy I am, I tweeted about it. “Whatever happened to the good old days,” I wrote, “when you let someone cut in line in traffic and they gave ya little wave? Miss those days.”

So I am making this a national request. In fact, people replied to my tweet from around the world, so actually I'm making an international request: Can we all just try to get along? Next time someone lets you into a traffic line, acknowledge it. Thank them. If on a two-lane road, someone lets you by, give 'em a little wave. Maybe a smile.

It ain't hard.

Heck, maybe you'll burn a calorie or two.

By Wes Raynal