I have become inordinately aware of bad driving in the last 3 years. I mean startlingly bad driving. At first I was blaming the era of cell/smart phones. People looking at a phone drive badly. But they’ve been around for awhile and I just became aware of this prevalent problem in the last 3 years.
Today I was noting that the driving was often deliberately bad. Running lights, cutting off people to get in a lane, cutting through corner gas stations in order to avoid the light, random u-turns in high traffic areas. All of this happened today while I was running errands.
I am currently living and working in lower socioeconomic areas and nearly my entire 20 drive to work is through those areas. The previous 20 years of my life was spent in upper middle income areas.
So I wondered. And I looked it up. Yup. Lower Socioeconomic areas have higher traffic fatalities and accidents. Lots of studies on the correlation between them. But no real indication about causes.
And really I wonder what causes it. Was it bad driving education or a general disregard for personal safety and property, or a general disregard for other people’s safety.
I’m aware that when your life crosses a certain line of terribleness you stop feeling much regard for other people generally. I know that because I experienced it when I was homeless. I had to consciously fight it and wasn’t particularly successful. While its probable that everyone’s line of caring about others is in a different level of terribleness, but terribleness does abound in these areas.
I’m also aware that being depressed makes you a worse driver, you are more ruminative and disassociated from your surroundings. This makes you less aware.
I wonder also how much of it is just owning a thing that is nice makes you want to keep it nice. If you own a piece of shit car, there’s no need to drive to protect it.
Lots of potential causes, but I have no idea whether any or all or some variable combination is part of the issue.
But it does feel good to know I’m not imagining this really terrible driving I’ve been seeing.