Sometime ago my Precious Carol and I followed our daughter, Rebecca, to visit the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas. Let me tell you what happened.
Leaving Duncanville, we got onto west-bound I-20. What did we see? All three east-bound lanes were at a total standstill because of a heavy auto accident. Three fire engines and several tow trucks were at odd angles, and East I-20 was a three-lane parking lot for 5 miles!
Several miles further we found the exit to north-bound I-35E was blocked because of an accident, and we continued west to take highway 408 north.
In the next 15 miles, we saw a car that was on fire, a stalled car blocking the right lane, which created a 2-mile backup, and three more accidents. All in one morning. On the way back to Rebecca's home that afternoon, we saw two more accidents, a black car that was weaving in and out of three lanes at high speed nearly hit Rebecca's car, and a white pickup truck nearly sideswiped my car as it sped past me. I don't mean to pick on Dallas or Texas drivers because we find the same danger on the freeways in many highly populated areas.
The next day, a news flash came across my computer that said three people died in a high-speed chase, and two others were taken to the hospital after crashing into a building.
As I mentioned, I'm not picking on Dallas drivers, because most of them are not bad. We find this erratic driving in many areas around the country. But we also find good drivers.
While living in Nashville, Tenn., Rebecca encountered wonderful, friendly drivers. When someone needed to change lanes, they often matched speed with the car beside them, rolled down the window and asked the driver if he or she would allow the lane change. The response was always a smile, a nod and a slow-down to make room.
I've found the same type of friendliness in Arkansas and other places. When I see that someone wants to change lanes, I back off and flash my lights at them, signaling that the way is clear. And many drivers do that for me.
I think the difference in attitudes may be partly related to geographic localities, traffic congestion and over-populated areas. But bad attitudes are primarily related to the fact that love and kindness are not a concern for many people. Many folks are focused on themselves and on their own schedules.
I remember driving from San Diego on the inside lane of I-8 going to El Cajon. Our four east-bound lanes were relatively full, traveling approximately 45 mph, when a motorcycle sped past me at about 85 mph on the inside shoulder. About five minutes later, the two inside lanes slowed down, stopped, then we began inching forward. Our two lanes eventually began merging to the right.
We crawled at about 5 mph in spurts. A little later, we passed the remnants of that motorcycle, the driver was twisted against the center median and four cars stopped at various angles. We saw police, fire trucks and an ambulance heading our way.
Will more safe driving classes make people drive safely? Will publicizing the death and carnage statistics make people more cautious? The answers are no, because we already do that. How about defensive driving? I do that, and that's why the white pickup didn't sideswipe me. Also, giving yourself plenty of time to make the trip will make driving safer.
One thing is for sure: Friendliness, courtesy and kindness on the freeways would result in far fewer accidents, injuries and deaths. But that kind of training has to start before anyone gets behind the wheel.
We could teach simple principles to children at home, reinforce them in school and again in industry. We could start with "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That's found in Matthew 7:12.
We could follow that up with, "Be as kind and courteous to your neighbor as you are to yourself." That's paraphrased from Mark 12:31.
And we could teach our children, youth and adults to obey the law. You'll find that in Hebrews 13:17. We also need God's help, so we should pray. Luke 11:1-4.
It is simple: We need to get back to teaching our families to live by what the Bible says, and we will be much safer everywhere, including on the freeways.
-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.