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Posts Tagged ‘save lives’

Having worked through the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve found myself regularly driving these past months at a time when most people have been at home. This has led to quieter roads, and a halving of my usual commuting time. Paradoxically, it’s also been a time when I have never been more afraid of taking to the road. Speeding, cutting in, pulling out without looking, overtaking on blind corners – all of these things I witness regularly on my commute now. The situation is such that when I am not required to go to work, I leave the car at home as much as possible for fear of accidents. This is not normal and I have a theory about it.

Psychologically we can be divided up into various personality types. There are a number of profiling methods, but the main one used in psychological research is called the Big Five. This lists five main personality traits: extroversion, openness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Insights into our nature are revealed by how we score against each of these traits.

Those who have stayed at home during the pandemic, those who obey the rules about necessary journeys and social distancing will measure high in conscientiousness, neuroticism and agreeableness. This basically means you worry about doing the right thing, you’re thorough in following the guidelines and you’re thinking about keeping others safe as much as yourself.

The idiots who score low on these same measures don’t care about the rules, they believe the rules don’t actually apply to them, and they don’t worry about others at all, indeed they don’t think about others, and couldn’t give a fig if others found themĀ  disagreeable. Indeed, they might wear the latter as a badge of honour. So, these quieter roads are an invitation for such types to floor the accelerator and really see what the old girl will do. In other words, if you’re sensible, agreeable and conscientious in the current climate you’re more likely to be at home doing the right thing. If you’re on the roads, you’re more likely to be an idiot, and a danger to others.

Speaking of which:

To the driver of the corporate-looking BMW who joined the M61 at around six forty-five this morning, from the on-slip of Junction 5, doing about seventy, and who missed me by inches, then careened blithely out into the fast lane before disappearing in a cloud of dust as he ramped it up to warp speed, I say this: that was some manoeuvre. I’d also say no human being could possibly have reacted as fast as you did, threading that obnoxious beast of a car into tight traffic, unless they were coked up to the eyeballs, which I suspect you were.

You didn’t see all the tail lights stabbing in alarm to make way for your safe passage, and even if you had you would not have cared. Nor did you feel the jolt of shock I felt, deep in my stomach, and which lingered well into the day. You would have considered it amusing perhaps, merely the price others must pay for you to exercise your divine right to do as you want.

And then to the stone-faced cop in the scowly-faced SUV, who followed me halfway home this evening, waiting, I presume, for me to forget to indicate (yes, I score high in neuroticism), I say to him:

Where the hell were you this morning?

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