"DO THE RIGHT THING"
Written By Suzi Khani “The Traffic Girl” TM
Many of my favorite motivational speakers use traffic as an example of something that can affect us adversely. Happy Traffic Comedy Driver Improvement School spends a great deal of time advocating responsibility over your own environment, especially when it comes to your driving environment.
If you are stressed and overwhelmed, feeling like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done, finding yourself in an “always angry” state, then you will contribute to the magnificent traffic issue in South Florida, not to mention, you are putting yourself at great risk. According to Charles Howell, CPA, The Administrator of Happy Traffic Comedy Driver Improvement School, “stress causes bad traffic, and bad traffic causes stress.” Your chances of experiencing both at some point in your driving career are about 100%. How is that for a statistic? I can't tell you how to be the perfect person. Happy Traffic Inc. can’t make you a Zen Guru. But for absolutely no charge, I can give you some ideas that will help to reduce, substantially, those bad feelings caused by traffic and stress. Take these helpful hints and use them.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule No. 1: Empathize
I believe this is the number one way to reduce traffic stress. Have an understanding about the human condition. This means put yourself in the other driver's shoes. You may have to do “self talk” in the beginning in order to hear yourself think. It’s ok now. Other drivers won’t think you’re crazy, they will think you are having a conversation. In the old days, that would have been a very different story. To empathize is to understand people. To ask yourself, what if that was me. I have taken traffic to a different level. Now I say, “Thank God that isn’t me.” Instead of feeling "I can't believe that driver just cut me off” you feel this "that poor driver doesn’t understand the consequences of exercising bad judgment while navigating 2 thousand pounds of steel.” What a great way to get through the day! For Example: If someone cuts in front of you. Instead of being shocked, expect it. They must have been in a pretty stressful state to make that decision.
Another part to the empathetic approach to stress free driving is to ask yourself, “what if that were me?” How would it make me feel to be stuck behind a slow driver, or forget to be in the correct lane? You have to know the difference between defensive driving and offensive driving. You have to know which technique to employ. We just want to get there. It’s safe to say that most drivers hate obstacles, prefer not waiting at times, and skip the employment of any safe driving techniques. “The Waiting is the Hardest Part.” When your instincts are screaming “Don’t do it!” Don’t. We make countless decisions during our daily driving experience. Empathy will help you to relate to other drivers and will help you achieve the patience, tolerance, and acceptance. Do the right thing.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule No. 2: Observe.
Happy Traffic Comedy Driver Improvement School is a huge proponent of the awareness process. This is the number one defensive driving technique. We spend a lot of time talking about this in class. Happy Traffic Inc’s number one traffic commandment is “Thou shalt not trust thy neighbor.” This is a good thing, not a bad thing. Understand them, and don’t trust them. If you trust the people you are driving around, they you are handing them your life on a silver tray. No myth about it. Drivers do indeed have a universal, telepathic, unspoken system of communication. Example, Driver pulls up behind you at a fast pace. What’s he trying to tell you? So in order to alleviate stress, you need to be a great observer. We are under the impression that there is something so safe, so private and powerful about driving an automobile. Sure, it was truly an amazing invention. But certainly nothing we need to kill ourselves over. You need to observe the other driver, figure out if they are aggressive, preoccupied, distracted, emotional, or even mindless. This way you can pick up on the way they communicate.
In traffic school we say that people communicate with their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to the four wheeler. A communication that is subtle at the very most. There is a lot you can assume at a glimpse of another driver and their vehicle. Everyone is saying something. The more aware you are, the less the risks. Be a witness. Watch what is going on around you. Watch the way others drive. When you think they are talking to you, they are. If you think they are saying something awful, they probably are. For each crazy thing you see another do, watch, question and learn. Consider each transaction as learning experience. The more you learn the more you can be an example to others. Watch instead of act. Do the right thing.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule No. 3: Practice Random Kindness.
Happy Traffic Comedy Driver Improvement School does not give this advice lightly. Be kind. Be nice. This is what this article is all about…Do The Right Thing. What could be more right then being kind? I love being nice. Instead of stress causing it is soothing. This is what Happy Traffic is all about. When I see that someone wants to get into my lane, I help them, gladly. When I see someone sitting there forever trying to get across the intersection, I help out. When I see someone who's in the wrong lane and wants to make a right turn, I help them. When I am behind someone going extra slow, I am sure it is because they are unsure of something. I ride close the the right, just so the guy behind be can see what’s going on, so that they could make their move. (By the way, they are going to make their move with or without your kindness.) Being nice and thinking nice thoughts is one of the easiest ways to reduce typical stressful traffic situations. Being nice prevents you from doing something aggressive. It prevents other drivers from acting out of aggression. Don’t expect a reward, or acclimates. The reward is that you increase your chances to reach your destination unscathed. And believe me, kind driving is not without its difficulties. Unenlightened drivers do not make this task easy. Don’t let them get to you. Happy Traffic has an understanding of the human condition. You need to as well. The bottom line is that more times then none, kind driving reduces stress within the whole driving environment. A word of caution. Make sure you don’t break the law, or put yourself or others in danger when deciding to help someone along. Be kind, not stupid. Do the right thing.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule 4: Do it with a Smile
This kinda goes along with being nice. Being nice is an act, Smiling is an Expression. When it comes to driving, a smile can be the difference between life and death. People are angry, some rightfully so, but every body is mobile no matter what their state of mind is. Happy Traffic Comedy Driver Improvement School promotes happiness. We want you to be happy, and to have a stress free driving environment to spite the horrible conditions we are faced with everyday on the road. We want our students at Happy Traffic to be the masters of their own destiny, to be responsible for their environment, their lives, and the survival. 90% of one car collisions happen because the driver is intoxicated. What this means is…..most likely, if you are driving all by yourself, with no adverse conditions, and no other drivers on the road, you are very unlikely to experience a collision, or anything that causes stress in the traffic environment. A smile will make you feel good, and reduces your risk of becoming a victim. Here’s an exercise. Start looking at, “observing” the faces of the other drivers around you. You may notice many of them are stuck in a perpetual anger state, and they don’t even know it. The difference between you and them is…you know it.
A smile is an expression of peace. It shows the other driver, you are not angry with them. It can lighten up their day. However, smiling is really not about making the other driver feel something. Smiling is a gesture that will reduce your own stress. I will admit, sometimes it hurts to smile, but it is necessary if you want to feel great and bring peace to your life. It will change the way you feel. If you want to be treated like royalty? Smile. Hey, I am not asking you to smile all the time, although it really helps when you are feeling your worst.. All I am telling you is, get yourself in the mood and smile. Do it once, and make a record of your driving experience while you are smiling, compare it to a driving experience with no smile. You will see that the smiling experience is the better experience. Do the right thing.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule 5: Do it with Karma.
Happy Traffic Comedy Driver Improvement School reveres The Self Actualized Driver. I truly believe that all our experiences are for learning and teaching purposes. In driving, each transaction is an experience, good or bad, and if we learn, we get better at it. Being nice and smiling are great tools to making your driving experience a good one, less stressful. Applying Karma could be the greatest tool of all. Having an understanding of human nature is one thing, having an understanding of the universe is quite another.
Being responsible for myself is knowing that I set the destiny for my own experiences. If I am good, the results will most likely be good. I always keep in mind the laws of the universe. Everything is relative. What goes up must come down? What goes around comes around. As Robin Williams put it in the movie Dead Again, “The Karma Credit Plan….buy now, pay forever.” Don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, don't gossip, don't hurt others, don't get revenge, don't attempt to teach others a lesson, don't be spiteful. Bad Karma will affect your driving one way or another. Here is a vision: Someone cuts you off. Yelling at them causes stress, getting them back by cutting in front of them and slowing down, causes stress and is bad Karma. You just got to know the difference between right and wrong, and exercise that. Do the right thing.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule No. 6 Write.
As you can see, I am a writer. Yes, the Traffic Girl is a writer. A First Step to Feeling Alright is expressing yourself, your emotions in a positive way, so that you aren’t all bottled up with negativity. If you are finding that you are being forced to stop a lot while driving, or that you are angry every time you get in your car, or that you hate every other driver, then you need to start writing. If you are experiencing something terrible like the loss of something or someone of great importance to you, or you have had a fight or experienced something unpleasant, write about it. Write about it until you can't write anymore. Write a letter, write a short story, write about what gets you pissed. Keep a journal. Do whatever it takes to get you to start expressing yourself on paper. I was in a store recently, and the store clerk got me so upset my adrenaline went out of control. So when I reached my destination, I wrote about it. (and subsequently mailed it to the manager). I felt so relieved. There is Power in the Pen. Once I wrote about it, it gave me the opportunity to resolve the issue in my mind and in my heart right then and there. You will find that later in time the issue is not at anger inducing. Failure to release these emotions immediately can create build up and can cause you to do stupid things while driving. Writing permits me to fantasize, relieve myself when I am stressed or confused, express my emotions, and best of all express my power. You know, the human condition causes us to want to be right. However, in driving, this need can cause you to be “dead right.” It has been said before "there is power in the pen." Take care of yourself and your mental health. It will affect how you feel when you get in your car, what you do in your driving experience and how you deal with other drivers. Do the right thing.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule No. 7: Breath.
Right now you are probably saying to yourself, this chick is crazy. How am I going to be able to be nice, when the other guy is a jerk? Then I am asking you to Observe, Write, Smile, and think Karma. I might be crazy, but I am one happy driver. Let’s be honest. How many of us concentrate on our breathing. Happy Traffic knows that oxygen is the best way to sooth our savage souls. Breathing is the best tool around for relieving stress. Everything loves oxygen. Take deep breathes and lots of them. Well don't hyperventilate or anything. Just spend more time being conscious of your breathing. You brain needs oxygen in order to pump out the right chemicals that will help you "Do the Right Thing." Most of the time we are not aware of our own breathing, yet it is so important to our survival. Breath right, get your oxygen and your body will feel incredible. If you experience trauma during driving, enormous amounts of adrenalin pump through your body. These hormones help us defend our selves during moments of anger or frustration, even fear. During these moments, take long deep slow breaths. Reward yourself with the good stuff, oxygen and peace. Take care of yourself, and you will see your driving change. Do the right thing.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule No. 8: Meditate.
Not an exercise you want to practice during your drive. You can do it for 5 minutes or l5 minutes. You can do it lying down, sitting up or even standing. Most of us don’t take the time to tend to ourselves this way. Some people call this napping and make the excuse that they don’t have the time or patience. I can only speak from my own experience. It’s worth it. We don’t realize that most of our stress is taken out in our driving experience. This is dangerous and leads me to believe we are lacking “love of self.” There are a lot of elements on the road that we are not in control of. Different size vehicles, different styles of driving, different interpretations of traffic laws and rules of the road, sleepy, drunk, old, young, busy driving. When driving, you need to be self actualized. You need to love yourself. I can only affirm that becoming one with yourself, loving and respecting yourself, takes silence, and deep inner thought. This has a profound effect on your driving. This moment of silence is the one time you can really concentrate on your oxygen intake and block out all thoughts. It also gives you the opportunity to understand how lucky we are to be on this earth and have this life. It is incredible what those moments of silence can do. I think of the exercise of meditating as a chance to enhance my senses. It gives my body a chance to tune itself. Remember the saying "Silence is Golden." Take the time to treat your senses to moments of silence. Be grateful to your senses. They can help you see, hear and feel things coming. Look at the sky and notice its blueness. Enlightened senses can save you. It will make the difference in your driving experience. Do the right thing.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule No. 9: Love Yourself Like Nobody Knows.
Love is like sugar and life experiences is the medicine. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. What I mean is, love is the best medicine for us all. If you love yourself, you are less likely to make unhealthy driving decisions. At Happy Traffic Comedy Driver Improvement School we advise our students to take a picture of themselves, and keep in on the dash board. Do this. Every time you get in your car it will remind you of who you are and what you have to offer to this life. If you love and respect yourself, you will protect yourself. If you share this love with others, you are less likely to feel the bad stuff. The bad stuff won't seem so bad. They are only human. Brace yourself. This next piece of advice is a tough one. Spend time loving those who are hardest to love. Yes, I am saying..the way to peace is to love everyone. Love your enemy. Most of all, love yourself, fully, and you will find there is less need to be heard, less need for to have the last word, less need to be right. Love yourself. Love your instincts, love your very own company. I offer myself to the world fully, and those who are supposed to benefit from me will, I am convinced of that. Do you understand this? Love is an emotion that can make wonderful things happen. Try it.
Happy Traffic Inc’s Rule No 9: Get a Massage
If you can afford this, do it. If you really really really want tranquility, which leads to a peaceful state of mind, try getting a massage. All of this will help making a great driving experience. I look forward to anything that makes me feel good. Anything. I like the feeling of the wind blowing through my hair. I like the feeling of exhaustion after a busy day or a hard work out. But most of all, I like a nice strong rub down. Treat yourself. It is orgasmic. I am in awe that I can pay someone $70.00 and have them rub me from head to toe for an hour. It is truly awesome.
In conclusion, you may not be able to practice all of these rules. However, I want you to keep in mind, that collisions and confrontations cause damage, irreparable damage. It is my wish for all of my readers to understand how lucky they are to be here. Every day should be one that is cherished. If you are driving then you have most of your senses. That is a gift that should be tended to. Enjoy your life. Enjoy your drive. Be Happy!
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Article Written by Suzi Khani, The Traffic Girl 01/16/2001
"Site Last Update July 16, 2001"