A single Mercedes speeding by us recently triggered this post.
We were on Route 70 between Interstate 540 and Interstate 85 near Durham, NC. As is often the case with roads, there was some road construction, and there were lots of signs warning about the two lanes of traffic merging into the one left lane.
As I pulled over into the left lane, I could see a long line of traffic in front of me that had already merged into the left lane in an orderly fashion. Then a flash of black and chrome in my rear view mirror caught my eye. A Mercedes driver that had merged over must have decided that being at the back of the line was not for him.
I saw him quickly shoot over into the right lane and zoom down to the head of the line. It happens to be one of those things that challenge my patience and make me wish things that I shouldn't. Someone trying to get to the head of the line ends up slowing down the line because a kind soul has to to stop and let our impatient driver back into the lane.
My assumptions from this point on have nothing to do with the fact that this particular driver was driving a Mercedes. I know some very nice people who drive the same vehicle. Whether or not a higher percentage of Mercedes drivers compared to Volvo drivers try to get to the head of the line is another post.
It occurred to me that the folks who choose to try to get around everyone else in a merging lane situation are people who know exactly what they are doing and how they are inconveniencing other folks.
Yet they are willing to take advantage of others in order to meet their own needs. In a certain sense they believe they are above the rules that govern most people. In their minds it is okay for them to behave contrary to the accepted norm because they believe they are more important or special than everyone else.
It might be easy to say these people are just in a hurry, and their behavior is not indicative of the way that they might handle other things in their life. As someone who has been the leader of a number of teams, I would have to disagree. I have been in the car with Apple reps working for me and seen them pull a stunt like trying to get around a line of traffic.
It turns out that the people who I have observed zooming around traffic have all been very self centered people who tend to use other people to get what they want.
A little later in our trip, I was on a two lane road doing about 60 miles per hour when an old truck pulled out in front of me. I didn't have to slam on my brakes, but I did have to slow down to 25 miles per hour as the truck made its way one half mile down the road and turned off.
Actually it was a little more dramatic than that since there were five other vehicles behind me all doing 60 miles per hour.
In this case, the driver inconvenienced some people for a short time, but I am convinced that he was oblivious to what he had done. I didn't see whether it was an old driver or a young driver. He pulled out in front of traffic and never knew that with a little bad timing he could have been in a wreck.
My third person is the lady or fellow who is kind enough to stop and let you drive by his parking place without backing out in front of you. This is a person who is trying to do the right thing and doesn't mind adding a few seconds to his or her journey in order to not inconvenience another person.
I might use these categories to decide where to put my votes this November. I would rather have as a leader the fellow trying to do the right thing. Certainly someone who thinks he is better than the rest of us would be a poor choice for a leader.
We've already tried an oblivious leader in the not too distance past so I am not interested in voting for one of those.