Most Dangerous Piece Of Equipment On The Road?
One of the guys in the office has a yacht. I’m not talking about a dinghy, but a proper, pucker yacht. The kind of thing that you could use for sailing across oceans in comfort and style.
Anyway, he says that the most dangerous thing on a boat is the calendar . You head off over the North Sea for a long weekend in Amsterdam, and as soon as you arrive, the weather turns, bringing high winds and high seas in to make your return journey anything but plain sailing.
So instead of enjoying yourself in Amsterdam, you spend anxious hours watching the weather forecast, and glancing every few minutes at the calendar. Because you just have to get back to work on Tuesday . . .
. . . you leave it as long as you can, but then decide that you just have to sail across the sea in weather that you’d have never considered facing from your home port. You end up doing stupid, dangerous things, because you’re a slave to the calendar.
So what’s the equivalent on the roads?
Yep. The clock.
Focused on this, people will cast aside their better judgment, civility, and any consideration for others. They’ll cut up doctors in their rush to visit people in hospital:
… duck in front of recumbents in That London:
… drive the wrong side of traffic islands:
… ignore oncoming traffic (if it gets too close, you can always push the bike off the road with minimal damage to your own vehicle):
… and generally act like the hare of Aesop’s Fable:
Strangely enough, when I’m in traffic and there’s a patient driver behind me, I get even more nervous. Like the soldiers from the First World War trenches sharing a match , I fear the driver behind the patient one, and the one behind that, who cannot see the cause for the few seconds delay he’s experiencing. Those few seconds can lead to pent-up frustration as the clock’s second-hand ticks away, and I’m pretty sure that frustration isn’t a good thing when in charge of several tons of metal.
The underlying cause for this is probably NOT that the drivers concerned are Bad People, but that they’ve become slaves to the clock. There’s even academic research on this, with a famous experiment in which self-confessed Good Samaritans would pass by on the other side when they were up against a deadline - ironically enough, a deadline for a speaking engagement on the parable of the good Samaritan!