The Price We Pay For Safety

Dear other drivers in Austin, Texas,

There are probably a fair number of things you do as a matter of habit while driving. It’s automatic by now. You don’t even have to think about it. Checking your rear view mirror on a regular basis, turning on headlights when you go somewhere late at night, changing lanes smoothly.

These things are not automatic for me. These things take a lot of thought and planning. I have only been driving on a regular basis for about two years. Consider me the equivalent of your average 18 year old behind the wheel, except without the feeling of invulnerability.

All of this is to let you know the following:

I understand that The Wave is a culturally necessary component of any driving transaction between two vehicles that involves the driver of one vehicle doing a favor for another vehicle, and by doing a favor I mean doing the polite thing that everyone knows they should do when faced with a similar situation and if they did, we would all be happier.

I understand that as Texans, we take social behaviors such as The Wave very seriously, and I am committed to doing my part to uphold our shared values of neighborliness (as long as I don’t have to talk to my actual neighbors), good manners, and other values we have here that I actually agree with, since there are a few which obviously are kind of a mess and give our state a bad reputation.

And yet, despite my very clear understanding of what is at stake each time I am in a vehicular transaction that requires me to offer The Wave in thanks for another driver’s display of proper neighborly behavior, I feel we may at times all be better served by having me concentrate on operating the motor vehicle. It may be little, but if I smash it into someone else’s car, things could end badly.

I hope you understand.

Best wishes,

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