Chris' Corner: Pay it forward on the road

Pay it forward on the road

Do you notice how much hotter the sun seems to be now?  I guess we are all paying for our collective sins of the past.  We have been warned about the thinning ozone layer since the 1960's, maybe even earlier, but many of us didn't bother. 

I have never seen UV Indexes of 10 and 11 before in Southern Ontario, but this summer it is commonplace.

The weather is bearable in the shade, but if you have to be out in the sun, tensions frazzle fast... Since I stopped traveling on the major highways on a daily basis and stopped having to regularly drive the rush hour race, I think I have been evolving into a more generous driver.  I am definitely much less aggressive.

Yesterday, I had an Open House in Uxbridge, and had to drive through Newmarket.  Newmarket is a town that has become the central place for shopping for the entire region and the drive through it can be an adventure. 

Perhaps it was because of the heat, or the effect of the sun, but the drivers in town yesterday were extremely aggressive.  There are times when you are best served mirrorring the actions of the people you encounter, and times when doing the opposite will result in a better outcome.  Yesterday's "pay it forward" was an accumulation of little things... things like stopping early when traffic has stopped ahead so that a person driving on the other side of the road can make a left turn instead of driving right up to the next car and blocking the intersection (its funny how if you have stopped on a four lane road how often the person driving in the other lane will also stop short allowing the person in the oncoming lane to turn left).  Leaving enough room so that traffic can merge in front of me.  Coming to a stop when the stoplight is orange (rather than trying to race through it) enabling the intersection to clear quicker.
None of my actions are momentous, but they have the accumulated effect of creating a much more relaxed drive for me, and possibly reducing the stress, even just a little for a moment of another driver.  Will they choose to "pay it forward", we'll see...

In my life, there have been many people who have helped me in many, many ways on so many occasions, one couple that immediately comes to my mind are now lifelong friends, Al and Peggy Cunningham, people that I could never truly repay... so when I have an opportunity to help someone, even in a very small way, I try and help them if I possibly can...


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Comment balloon 9 commentsChris Smith • July 10 2011 09:40AM


Chris, you may have stopped an accident from happening by your driving decisions - good job!

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) over 9 years ago

Chris- paying it forward on the road is the ultimate challenge for me as I suffer from a slight bit of impatience when driving so bless you for helping remind me to relax a bit in the car!

Posted by Margie Kopp Sorrell, Lake Oconee Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country) over 9 years ago

Hi Chris,  Good Job,  I was in traffic yesterday on I-70, there was a accident, (Bad) so traffic was back up.  I left room but after awhile so many cars were passing and cutting from of people, the heat was getting turn up.  Have a good one.

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) over 9 years ago

HI Chris,

The roads and traffic is the perfect place to implement a paying it forward approach to life, rather than expect others to fix the problems on the road, just take it easy, don't be so aggressive and mellow out....

Good for you Chris.

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC over 9 years ago

Joan, I am not sure of that, but I did manage to have a relatively stress free drive =)

Margie, I used to have to commute on major highways during rush hours... I developed into a very aggressive driver, the funny thing about relaxing is that it doesn't really add much time to the commute...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Will, it is much harder to do this when everyone is driving aggressively around you...

Peter and Linda, just a little spin on "change the things you can, aceept the things you cannot change, and have the wisdom to know the difference".  I can control my driving and my emotions...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Hi Chris - I don't go through Newmarket very often and the few times I have in the past few years, I have not seen much traffic.  It might have simply been the time of day.

In some other parts of the world, I have said for a long time that people need to drive both aggressively and defensively at the same time.

Posted by FN LN over 9 years ago

Marc, I do not drive in heavy traffic enough to have to drive aggressively, now my driving priorities tend to be driving defensively and staying relaxed...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Chris, when we do a whole bunch of little things properly, the big things will fall into place. Concientious driving is a great example of this, as you will prevent an accident from happening, and by being safe you will be easing tensions in other vehicles. everyone appreciates a generous driver.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 9 years ago