Tuesday, June 19, 2007

10 commandments for the road

the vatican office for migrants and itinerant people has issued a list of ten commandments for drivers. the list appears in a 36-page document called "guidelines for the pastoral care of the road." a report by nicole winfield of the associated press states:

"(the document) warned about the effects of road rage, saying driving can bring out "primitive" behavior in motorists, including "impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility or deliberate infringement of the highway code." It urged motorists to obey traffic regulations, drive with a moral sense, and to pray when behind the wheel."

here are the commandments:

1. You shall not kill.
2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.
5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
7. Support the families of accident victims.
8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
10. Feel responsible toward others.

as i've said before, i think cars induce the ultimate in egotistical behaviour. we sit in our own personal space, shut off from all around us. we control the air, the sound and the speed. we relate to other cars only insofar as they affect our own progress, i.e., get out of my way, you are going too slowly, how dare you cut in in front of me, etc.

the only quibble i have with this list is #9. who or what is the vulnerable party? the policeman in westchester told me that i must always hit the animal rather than swerve. last time i didn't, i ended up with my car stuck 4ft in the air in the branches of a tree. but the creature was alive, and so was i, and the car got mended. hmmmmm .....

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