Don’t let it drive you crazy

Jake Hamilton, Opinion Editor

It was one of those situations that was all too common when you go off campus for lunch in the small window of 40 minutes, which always magically seems more like 10 minutes once you get on the road. Five minutes till class starts, everyone piling into the car after eating their food and praying to the street-light gods to give a few green lights for once.

They never listen to our prayers. As we were stopped at the first of many red lights, one driver behind us was even more mad than we were, honking madly in protest. Then the old man in the car to our right said the wisest words I’ve ever heard on the road…

“You know, I could flip her off right now. But I won’t. Flipping her off wouldn’t make me happy.” He paused thoughtfully. “Everyone’s in such a rush to get where they’re going. I actually enjoy driving. I think people should learn to be more positive. Instead of flipping someone off, we should shout: Have a nice day!”

The light turned green, and we all shouted “Have a nice day!” as he drove off.

Now, its not every day that you hear philosophy while stopped at a light, but this especially stood out to me because the more I thought about it, the more it seemed true: People don’t enjoy driving anymore.

Many teens today aren’t even getting their license. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 28% of 16 year-olds had their license in 2010, compared with 44% in 1980. There are many theories about the cause of this sudden drop–financial crisis, graduated laws prohibiting driving minors in the first year of driving, technology creating an entertaining environment at home–but they all fall flat before what I’ve seen in most of my friends and fellow students. People forgot how fun it is to drive.

Bored on a Saturday afternoon? Take some friends and drive to a new city. There’s plenty in Southern California.

Trying to impress the ladies? They’ll be far more comfortable in the front seat than on the handlebars of your bicycle.

Had a rough day and need to let it all out? Drive along the beach at night singing along to “Faithfully” by Journey. You could even let the tears flow. Nobody’s watching! Your car can be your sanctuary of emotions.

Plus, traffic is never as bad as everyone says. Take your average traffic jam: you’re stuck in your car for awhile, on relatively comfortable seats, with air-conditioning, your favorite music blasting through the speakers, and friends full of stories and jokes.

If people could remember the positives, we wouldn’t have all of this road rage. Maybe teens would even take an interest in getting their licenses as soon as possible.

Reader, I hope you can stretch your retinas to see driving as a thrill instead of a chore. If not, I have just one thing to say to you:

Have a nice day!