Christmas cheer on the road

Today is the perfect time to start the habit of road courtesy. It is the season of joy and what better way to spread Christmas cheer than by being a courteous motorist?

It should not matter that the other drivers beside you are rude and clearly trying to get you out of your lane. How much time will you really gain if you do not give him space?

The test of spreading the spirit of Christmas will really be difficult at the malls where parking spots are now as scarce as a taxi on a rainy payday Friday. Courtesy dictates that a driver does not “steal” a parking spot from someone who is waiting for a parked car to leave his slot. Yet I see this happen often — a driver who passes by suddenly drives into a parking slot even if another car is already in position to park there. It’s a situation that flashes the word RUDE in capital letters, but that does not seem to bother some drivers.

And then one needs patience to deal with a person who is standing on the parking slot while waiting for a companion’s car to reach it. Is it being courteous to allow that idiot to stand there — usually with hands stretched out like in a game of “patintero”? Or do you open your window and say your mind — which surely will not bring words spreading Christmas cheer.

Starting the habit of road courtesy today may be easier said than done as this is also the season when we are all in a hurry and traffic is denser than usual.

In the past few days, traffic has become horrible that my friend’s travel time over a 17-kilometer distance from home to office now takes two hours! I keep hearing horror stories about being stuck in traffic these days that I am tempted to compile and compare them to the stories I shall hear same time next year. Will it be worst – or will it be better?

We are reading about the many new roads, overpasses, ramps, additional lanes being opened that traffic should have eased up by now. But the new road space was quickly taken over by the volume of cars that has multiplied because of the Christmas season.

Traffic has now limited the gatherings of family and friends at this time of the year. I’ve heard of “virtual parties” where people send each other special food and then talk over the phone to say how much they enjoyed them. For them to actually meet and party means giving up many tasks, one of them work.

I’ve also heard of a company that now brings their Christmas parties to the offices of people in their guest list. They bring merienda or lunch to their friends in one office instead of inviting them to a party in a hotel where the guests would have to crawl through two hours of traffic just to attend it. That seems like a good idea but it dilutes the fun of simply being in one big party with people you meet only once a year.

I am old fashioned — I still would prefer to sit, talk, have a drink, and enjoy a meal with friends all in one place.

Meanwhile, keep a smile that can inspire motorists around you to be courteous today.

Believe in the magic of Christmas! Yield, be courteous, and spread the spirit of the season.

Happy motoring!

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